I make movies,photography,comedy and music happen
I’m not really a “I’m just gonna’ pack up my shit and move to California lady”. Although, I kinda’ envy people that can do that…just throw all their shit up on top of their car, make the jack off motion, and say to themselves “Eh, it’ll all work out somehow, I guess!” I’m more of a “I’m gonna’ complete 2 decent film projects and move to California six years later kinda’ lady”.
After Family Planning and Other Funny Stories 2 wrapped, I decided now was the time to move. Either that or just wither away here, in every way possible, and eventually die.
I decided to take a trip down there first and check out the sitch. I didn’t have a lot of cash. Almost everything I had I spent on gas, for the most part, and some parking.
My truck has a long bed, so I threw a twin mattress in there, some gear and left. It was pretty comfortable, actually. I’ve camped a lot, so it was no big deal. I brought non-perishable groceries and just ate and drank what I bought pre-trip.
I read a lot of Boondocking advice before I left. Some of that advice was wrong. Truckers at those Pilot stations did not want to share pavement with me. I made it through without paying for camping, anyway. Next time I'll find a state park.
I had a few things that I wanted to do while I was there. Hit one big stand up show, look for work, and do some mics. I only ended up having time to do one of those things. Here’s how this all went down:
I LOVE California. Every time I have to leave it, I get a little sad. Just starting the drive down there made me happier.
I had originally planned to leave the last week in April, but the 30th was my youngest daughter’s 21st birthday, so May 1st is when I actually left. I didn’t end up leaving Bellingham ‘til 5 p.m. Driving at night is way better, anyway. The traffic wasn’t even that bad by the time I got to Seattle.
The first night was spent at a sketch looking truck stop in Oregon. I saw trucks, but the whole area just screamed "recent/frequent murders". The truck stop could have been called Meth and I would have believed it.
The store itself was even a twisted little slice of Hillbilly Americana. They sold stuff in there that you don’t see often…or ever. They sold Night Train and that weird Neopolitan candy that your grandma kept in her living room candy dish. The millennial update to this candy was apparently to make it in a Fruit By the Foot format. Any David Lynch film could have happened at this gas station, is what I’m sayin’.
Before the trip I’d slapped a couple of cheap home security rattle detectors on the tail gate and back window of the canopy. Mostly so I’d have time to scream before someone bludgeoned me to death at some truck stop or rest area.
That night, the Deliverance gas station attendant came and knocked on my window just as I was dozing off to tell me that I “can’t park there”, so I moved my truck and slept in my locked cab instead. (I’d asked him ahead of time to park. His reply was "Over night?". That was the first and only night that I asked, though.) When I woke up the next morning, I realized that I, indeed, would have been very much in the way in the spot where I was originally parked. It had been pitch black when I got there though.
I felt pretty safe sleeping amongst the trucks. Did you know they can just pull off of the road practically anywhere and sleep? I saw gaggles of them doing just that all up and down I5. I think that’s cool, and really, I think anyone should be allowed to do that, legally.
All the way down the interstate I kept passing and being passed by this old couple in a nice car. I’d see them on the road and at rest stops. They looked so relaxed. The old guy had a lead foot.
Google maps told me it would take something like 19 hours to get to L.A. I was more around the 24 hour mark. I slept a second night among the trucks in a city that had both a prison AND a mental hospital. I had a nap along the way and woke up feeling sick in the stomach. I chugged some Pepto and the nausea eventually passed. I got to L.A. that afternoon.
People drive like maniacs there, by the way. I saw one dude with a fast black car of some flavor. The license plate read “Coffin”. Touche, fast car dude. There was also one time where I was getting on the freeway from a right handed on ramp…Wuuut???
In an L.A. parking lot, I immediately started trying to figure out where the comedy mics were. What I found though, was a surprise Louie CK show at The Comedy Store. Tickets had gone on sale at 11 a.m., and I was a few hours late, but I figured what the hell, I’ll go and see if I can get in. I pulled up to the club and the line was all the way down the block. So, I parked and got in line.
I saw a lot of nice cars and the people that I met all seemed to have cool jobs and interesting stories about what inspired them to move to L.A. A young woman I met in line was an intern at College Humor. I thought that was pretty rad.
When we finally got towards the front of the line, we were told that there were only 17 tickets left. We weren't sure whether we would get in or not. We did.
After that, I decided to just stay where I was parked ‘til the show and just walk around. It didn’t seem like there was too much to see in that area. So, I got a coffee, talked to a guy selling hot dogs and arranged to meet a Bellingham comic that had moved to L.A. 7 or 8 months ago.
I thought about going back to my truck and changing out of the cut offs and t-shirt that I was wearing, decided I was comfy, and so I didn’t. I was on day 2 with those shorts. I figured it didn’t matter too much. I’d been camping for two days and my attitude was casual-fuck-it.
As I was walking by The Comedy Store to meet my friend, I noticed a line again. I saw the young woman who had been in front of me the first time and I asked her what was going on. She told me it was the line to get seated. So, I got back in line and called my friend. We visited while I stood in line.
With a bag full of Pepto, my camera and 2 lenses (‘cause I don’t leave my camera or lenses in my truck) I stood in line while two bro’s in front of me talked about sister banging. I mentally rolled my eyes so hard I time traveled twice. I also prayed for lightning.
We finally got inside. I was seated front right. Inches from the stage…right next to the broski brothers. I was glad I’d worn some of the clothes I’d slept in. HAHAHAHA.
There was a two drink minimum. The minimum number of drinks that I wanted was zero. ‘Cause my stomach. I ordered a cider.
The show eventually started.
The opener took the stage and left. David Spade took the stage and left.
Louie CK came on. He was wearing a suit and his new stuff was brilliant. I could live 100 more years and not be as good at verbal story telling.
I took a couple of swigs of that drink that I didn’t want throughout Louie’s set. At some point towards the end, that drink started making its way back up my throat hole.
No one should ever have to ask themselves “Do I just vomit right here next to the stage, orrrr...?” Yet, there we were. Not knowing the protocol for this series of events, I made my way to the back of the room. Excuse me…pardon me…coming through.
I came back out, and took my seat only to get up 30 seconds later because Louie was done.
Did I mention my phone was missing that whole time? Well, it was. As the staff checked the lost and found, Ron White strolled past me…ya’ know…like ya’ do.
I slept in a residential area of Santa Monica that night. Not before getting lost in the dark in Beverly Hills though. Their streets are jankier than you would think. Narrow too. The voice in my phone that makes directions happen eventually gave up on me. I was on my own. My son told me to avoid Compton at all costs. I thought that was solid advice since I was lost in Beverly Hills.
The next morning I woke up and went to The Santa Monica Pier. It was beautiful. I love the ocean so hard. I took a ton of pictures and talked to everyone. A homeless dude declared that he “liked my style”. I talked to a budding photographer, a Russian scientist and a dude traveling the world shooting a documentary about street performers with his RED.
When I told the Russian scientist that I was a little nervous about moving, he said “You’re afraid of moving in the United States? It’s so easy here. You just pick up and you…move.” “Moving from Russia? That was hard.”
That moved me. It’s all about perspective, inn’t it?
See ya' soon, L.A. September, most likely...:)
The idea for Family Planning and Other Funny Stories was birthed from the womb of a phone conversation that my oldest daughter and I had.
After my second divorce I didn't date...at all. One marriage came right after the next. Hubby number two found me at a weak point in my life. I had just gotten separated from my first husband, and before I knew it, I had some dude that I never intended to get serious with moving his shit into my apartment. Re-bound marriage.
So, what was wrong with those guys? My first husband had penis problems. It kept falling out of his pants and into other women. This started a month after we were married. Sadly, this wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it happened later, and resulted in me leaving after six years of marriage...and even worse stuff came when we were separated, nearly destroying one of our children in the process.
My second husband had substance abuse problems. He liked to drink and drive. A lot. He finally had an accident and wrecked his head. Not bad enough for him to stop drinking and driving though. Stuff happened as a result of his head injury and drinking, so I left with my two youngest kids. (My oldest child was already out of the house.) We were married for eleven years.
Divorce number two brought the obvious question...What is wrong with ME? How did I accomplish doing this to myself not once, but TWICE? How terrible at making choices am I? I came down on me hard. THAT is why I didn't date. I didn't want to even know what the cat was going to drag in next. Besides, I was fine being alone. I always find shit to do. I was writing a lot. I took a role in a musical. All things that I wouldn't have had time for if I was in a relationship. I thought a lot about my life's trajectory and tried new stuff. I thought about what I wanted in a mate, should I ever go down that road again.
The time had come for me to at least date a little bit. My oldest daughter said I should "Date. Date EVERYONE. Stop being so picky." And "I don't know why you married either of those guys to begin with." She ended by telling me that I should give online dating a whirl.
I didn't follow her advice. (Although, I did half-assed try online dating for a year, AFTER we shot this episode. It was as I imagined it to be.) But, she gave me a great idea for a series.
Kat is the main character. She's not based on me, other than she's a single woman with adult children. Her oldest daughter Riley advises her to "Date. Date EVERYONE", and so she does. The pilot episode finds her dating Mark, who seems like a good match for Kat...on paper, at least. Check out the full episode here:
This brings us 'round to plans for Episode Two.
This first episode was made for about $4,000, give or take. I needed more like $10,000 to get even close to the look that I wanted. There was a lot of time/services/product contributed. This episode wouldn't have happened, otherwise. I'm so thankful to everyone who helped make this pilot episode a reality with their contribution of time or product. It's expensive to get a good looking film made. Cinematography, alone, would have been around the $6,000 mark. I used what money I had and went forward with the project, anyway. I'm not a princess, I've always had a "I'll work with what I've got" attitude.
That being said, I would LOVE to make my cinematography dreams come true by having better funding for the next episode. I guarantee you, it's wilder than the first one. I think this series is worthy of the money that I want to spend to up the ante with regards to production value. The goal is to get this series to television.
Although I consider myself a humanist, first and foremost, this is a female driven story, cast and crew. My dream is to have a tight, consistent female driven camera department, episode after episode. Women are underrepresented in film and I want to help with this, at least on this project. We'll be starting a Facebook Fan Page and Indiegogo campaign, shortly, for episode two. I would love to have your support. Contact me anywhere:
I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for watching! Talk to you again, soon. :)
The first time I did stand up was in 2006, if I remember correctly…There wasn’t a stand up scene in Bellingham, so I checked out an open mic. or two in Seattle before I went up for the first time.
I had been blogging for a year or two before that…some of the blogs were humor. I took one of those blogs and turned it into a five minute set…a five minute set that I promptly forgot once I got on stage.
I’d practiced for a month or so, before I went up I got laughs at the beginning of my set, ‘cause I was just bullshitting around. It was all downhill after that. Nothing but crickets and nervous laughter, here and there. I cut my losses and left the stage before I finished. The material that I was reading directly off of my notes by this point, was going nowhere. Oh…and I also screamed directly into the microphone at one spot in my reading. Pissing off the producer/sound guy and deafening/confusing everyone else in the room. I said “Fuck this. I am NEVER doing this again.” I came home and continued writing stand up.
2013 rolled around and I started taking pictures of the local Bellingham comics to fatten my portfolio. I made friends with a few of them. One guy, in particular, kept needling me to go on stage. Like, just fucking pushing me…and I really didn’t want to. At all. I finally did… partially just to shut him up.
The second first time I went up was terrible. Not as terrible as that first first time in Seattle, but, still pretty bad. I could see that there were parts of the bit that were salvageable. My second and third times on stage, were non memorable.
The fourth time I went on stage was the worst. I had such horrible stage fright. I went up and said “I can’t do this. I fucking HATE this” and left the stage. I didn’t do it again for a month or two. Honestly, I had planned on giving up on it for good. But, then I tried something different and found my voice. My “voice”, apparently, is something that no one else is doing here. And I’ll be honest. Not everyone gets the shit that I do. It’s usually either songs or performance artsy stuff. I get the range of “That was fucking amazing” to “What in the blue fuck did I just watch?”
A month or two into comedy, I was asked to host a show at Glow and people came. The place was packed. The bartender gave me a hug afterwards and told me that they’d never had so many people attend comedy there before. Attendance records for comedy that I hosted were broken at a few other local bars, too. People have just always been super cool about supporting the shows that I put on.
Fast forward to a twice monthly show at a local bar. It went really well for a while…it was better attended than the comedy shows before it. Then, as things do around here, the crowds dropped off and then it was just comics watching other comics. I closed the show down.
After that, I had one other big show at another local bar in town. I had a band and 3 out of town comics. Not well attended. I stopped producing shows for a couple of months after that.
I’ve always paid my featured acts. I think artists deserve to get paid. It’s a job, like anything else. With the first regular show, I took my $30 that the bar gave me and gave it to my Feature. I also put out a tip jar, which people were usually cool about throwing a few bucks into.
My current show, Traveling Comedy Shit Show was born out of a desire to provide a different kind of stand up show.
I really love the format for this show. The gist is this…Touring Comics, Local Openers, filmed in someone’s living room. I stick little filmed chunks of whatever I think is funny in between and put in on Youtube. Also, the show itself tours. This year’s plan is to take it down the west coast hitting Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and ending in L.A.
The idea for The Traveling Comedy Shit Show came from wanting more freedom… Freedom from worrying about whether the bar was making enough money off of drinks, for one. A lot of comics are alcoholics, some of them are in recovery. I didn’t want to have to worry about that bullshit.
I also wanted to have shows when I wanted to have them, or when it worked best for the Headliner. I was tired of having to try and make a crowd happen on the bar’s Slow Day.
The first two Shit Shows were packed. People invited their friends to this weird show that was happening in their home. I provided the booze and snacks. I want people to have a good time…for free.
How do I do this? Advertising. Sponsors pay for ad time in the finished film. I also give them a shout out at the live show. Right now, I’m trying to get the show into Bumbershoot. The sponsors will be mentioned there, too, should we get in. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Here’s the Bumbershoot Promo:
I’m so thankful that I have people that believe in this show and what I’m trying to do. So with that, I’d like to thank:
Robert M Lopez Photography
Custer Concrete and Construction
Bellingham Professional Office Cleaning
And my company, Mad Sun
Thanks so much, you guys! I hope to see you at a show, sometime!:)
I was fortunate enough to interview Bryan Cook,(the Featured act for Friday's show) this afternoon. We drove around Whatcom County in my F-150 pick up truck, searching for the perfect grocery store sushi.
I've e-known Bryan Cook for a year or so. He tours the country with his podcast Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. He and Seattle comic, Derek Sheen had approached me about producing a show in Bellingham, with Bryan as the Headliner. As the twists and turns of events would have it, Bryan wasn't able to make it. The show went on with Derek headlining, and several other amazing comics filling out the line up. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear that Bryan had finally put together a show at The Idiom.
Sean Patton Headlines this Friday's show. Sean's a comedian based in Los Angeles and New York, by way of New Orleans. He began doing standup in the Crescent City and has since performed in comedy clubs across the US and Canada. He's also performed at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2011), Just for Laughs Chicago (2013), Just for Laughs Toronto (2013), and three times at Just for Laughs Montreal (2008, 2010, 2012). In the TV world, he's appeared on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham (2009), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010), twice on Conan (2011, 2013), and on Comedy Central’s @Midnight (2014, 2015). 2013 also marked the release of his Comedy Central Half Hour Special. As for acting, he's appeared on IFC’s Maron and Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer.
Jim Stewart Allen will be hosting and is a local favorite, (via Seattle, these days). A former History Major at Western Washington University, he can be found wandering Seattle's U District mumblescreaming about the Oregon Trail and the undisputed sexiness of certain war time tactical maneuvers.
Sue: Thanks for joining me, Bryan! Question number one...Tell me about Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction.
Bryan: It’s a show I started in 2012 in Seattle that is now a monster I can’t control. That’s not completely true, but since I launched it in LA three years ago, it takes me around the country doing about 50 shows a year in roughly 20 cities. It is also a podcast, free on Itunes every Saturday, from Nerdist Industries.
Sue: The funniest dude I know doesn’t do stand up. I’ve been trying to talk him into it for going on three years. He finally showed up at an open mic. last night…just to kind of feel it out. I had a seizure, came three times, then introduced him to the show’s producer and every comic there. Have you ever had that experience?
Sue: Fair enough.
Sue (CONT.): Any tips for comics trying to make the transition from a smaller town to L.A.?
Bryan: No. Our traffic is bad enough. Stay home, become entitled, complain a lot.
Sue: Why the move from Seattle to L.A., as opposed to New York? You’re from Maine, originally, right? Why didn’t you just start in New York? Way closer than Seattle. Who are you running from, is what I’m asking.
Bryan: Maine. It’s terrible. I moved to Seattle on a whim right after college, played in bands for a long time until I realized I hated musicians. Then I moved to LA for a writing job for a dead woman.
NOTE: Bryan wrote for Joan Rivers’ Fashion Police. Good times were not had and he was part of the Writer’s Strike that resulted. You can Google that shit, should you feel so inclined.
Sue: Have you been in any movies, yet?
Bryan: No, I don’t act.
Sue: Best way to deal with a heckler, in a comedy club or real life?
Bryan: Pick them up and suck their dick.
Sue: Who haven’t you met, but would totally make you nerd out if you did?
Bryan: Mel Brooks, David Lee Roth, and a third funny answer.
Sue: If you were a Life Coach, what would your best nugget of wisdom be?
Bryan: “Fire me.”
Sue: Where can people find/buy your albums?
Bryan: I’ll let you know when they come out! Follow me on twitter @bryancooking.
Sue: Thanks so much, Bryan! This has been a lot of fun! I look forward to the show June 5th! Now get the fuck out of my truck!
*Throws store sushi out of the window*
Bryan: Thanks! Gonna’ be fuuuuuun…
DO come see the show, you guys! It’s cheap, Bryan and Sean are Zepplining up from L.A., Jim is unicycling from Seattle, and they’re doing it all for you. Anyway, Jesus would want you to…probably.
Idiom Theater. Bellingham, WA. Friday, June 5th. 8:30 p.m.
Get ur tix here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1470936
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/816794975035832/
I love you! Yes, you! See you at the show!
When I was a kid I was…how should I put this…an “enthusiastic singer”. I was LOUD, is what I’m saying. By and large, shyness was not a problem for me and that’s just how I rolled.
We always went to church, which is where my music education began. I was in a children’s choir and I loved singing.
One week the choir director, who I assume was weary of my lack of volume control, told me that I needed to pipe the fuck down. I was humiliated. I spent the rest of my time in that choir lip syncing, and much of my life after that with a phobia regarding singing in public. Luckily there’s Karaoke, musical theater and booze to help with those problems. Long story short, (as stand up comedy and singing on stage would have it), glossophobia is no longer a problem for me…to say the least.:p
Local funk legend, Will Glazier has a similar story…
Sue: You told me a little bit about your start in music. Do you feel like sharing your Middle School Band story? How did you go on from there? Was it a matter of just digging in your heels?
Will: I started playing trumpet in elementary school. I love the bright tone and extreme dexterity involved with the horn, so I took a chance on it. To my surprise, after a few years I excelled at it. However, due to my time being split many ways growing up, between sports and other bands, my time was rather limited even back then. Just as I became advanced enough to hire a private teacher, something strange happened. I remember being just a few minutes late to the 6 a.m. Jazz Band class in 7th grade. My teacher asked me to leave the room before I could get seated and proceeded to lock me out of the classroom. Later in the day, she made it her mission to find me and humiliate me further. When she did find me, she took me out of my Biology class and marched me to my locker, emptying all of the music contents, even if they didn’t belong to the school. She told me that if it were up to her I would never play music again. That was the last time I saw her, but honestly, I must thank her. Not more than a few months later, I found Michael Angelakos (currently of Passion Pit) on a Napster chatroom and we started our own band for many years called Cherry Bing. We toured, released albums and wrote lots of great tunes before he split to Boston. I re-auditioned into my high school band as a sophomore and split lead chair. For the remainder of High School I assumed that role in Jazz Band, Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Baroque Chamber Quarter, Marching Band and the Pit Orchestra as well as touring and recording with Cherry Bing.
Sue: Your main instrument is the trumpet, but do you play any other instruments?
Will: Yes I play a few other instruments. I produce all of my own electronic music, so I like to say I play drums, but I really just program them. I have a couple of great synthesizers and VSTs I use as well, so keys come naturally to me. I also sing lead and back up vocals a bit in Snug Harbor.
Sue: Do you do most of the composing for Snug Harbor or is it a combined effort?
Will: There are some songs that we have recorded that have been mostly my own composition, but in general it is a group effort. In Snug Harbor, I certainly have to spearhead the effort though. I’ll often collaborate with one or two members on an idea, and similar to WillDabeast, I’ll make loops and progressions based off of what I hear. Sometimes we do this in a group setting, but often it’s me alone, writing lines and lyrics and bringing them to the table for further collaborative endeavors. Sometimes the songs are right on and ready to go, other times we need to tweak them a bit more. There’s been a few times too that I have had nothing to do with writing a tune. It’s just a good song/idea someone came up with and the group played it well.
Sue: Was Cherry Bing your first band?
Will: My first band was called Boss Tribal and it was a metal band. I DJed and scratched a bit, but my first serious project was Cherry Bing. We released four album in our 6 year span (1999-2005), including our final release which was about to be signed to Drive-Thru Records. The album was recorded at the Goo Goo Dolls studio in Buffalo, NY where we all grew up. We played Warped Tour and all around the east coast for many years. It started off as a ska-punk band, but eventually kind of blended into our own beautiful original sound which combined rock, jazz, ska and pop-punk.
Sue: Tell me about Willdabeast and Snug Harbor.
Will: I started Snug Harbor over 8 years a go when I first moved to Bellingham. Cherry Bing broke up because of a pretty awful incident including some shady recording contract business we were slighted on. I was feeling pretty burnt and just wanted to have some fun, and play a little bit more serious music. So I formed this jazz-funk project and for some reason it just kept evolving into this mega-power house soul project you see today. It’s seen many iterations, and undergone lots of changed since the 2007 days, but the current crew seems as solid as ever. We are really starting to turn some heads now. We’ve got some really fun shows coming up so check the website.
WillDabeast started last year in 2014, as a way to express myself electronically. In college a few years back I had began to experiment with hip hop and bass oriented beats, which had always had my attention. So I started making (really bad) beats for many years. When I graduated school, I had a little more time and started to take it more seriously. I would spend 12-15 hours a day, five days a week trying to learn and progress. I put out my first album in early 2014 and it caught some ears. Mostly because I infused live instruments into the mix. My new album (slated to be released soon on Super Best records) will be a bit different and more refined and I am excited to share my growth with everyone.
Sue: How did playing with Michal Menert Big Band come about? What was he like?
Will: I met Michal on Twitter in 2014. I had been, and will always be, a die-hard fan. He practically started Pretty Lights (he co-produced the first album and much of the second) before going solo. He was the first artist signed to PLM and continues to be a driving force in the contemporary electronic scene. I kind of blasted him online until he answered me and he replied with “Want to be in my band”. I laughed, and laughed harder and obviously agreed. But it was no joke, and a few months later I had a contract in my hand. I was hired. And subsequently so was Snug Harbor. We have been, and continue to perform as the Michal Menert Big Band. But that’s just the kind of person he is, generous, kind and honest. He has taught me so much about myself, others and of course music production. I see a lot of myself in Michal too, and it’s often funny the resemblances I see. He has a big heart and he wears it on his sleeve, he has a strong drive for his passion, and he’s really not afraid to put himself out there. Clearly, he is practically at the top of the chart when you’re talking about “EDM”, or Electrosoul or whatever you want to call it. I am just honored to have him as a peer, bandmate and friend. He has positively affected my life in so many ways, I don’t think there’s ever any way he can possibly understand that. There is no way to express in words how much gratitude and love we all have for that man. His fan base is strong, kind and uplifting as well. I am beyond blessed to be part of that tribe.
Sue: You played The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, with Machal Menert. Tell me about some of the other places you’ve played?
Will: Thus far we have played Sonic Bloom, The Fillmore Auditorium and Red Rocks Amphitheater... not bad for your first three shows. There will be a lot more exciting news with this project, by far our biggest and most exhilarating music endeavor. There are a lot of fun shows coming up, too. WillDabeast is playing the King King Room in Hollywood (LA), as well as Summer Meltdown and Cascadia Fest. Snug Harbor has a few Eastern WA runs and Seattle shows coming up that are worth catching and MMBB will be announcing a couple big shows soon as well.
Sue: Tell me all about Red Rocks Ampitheatre.
Will: Red Rocks was a dream come true. I still can’t quite think about it without getting goose bumps. We were playing with Michal Menert Big Band on the infamous April 25th date. Everyone including Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and The Beatles have played there so it was kind of a trip. When I first got there I ran up to the top (well I kind of walked at the end), and looked around. You can see Denver at a distance just over the stage horizon. I finished watching the headliner soundcheck and we got our chance to step on to the stage. We set up and spent a few hours decompressing before the show started. We were the main support group and played from 8:30-9:30 for an almost capacity crowd of close to 9,000 people. At the end of the day though, it was just another show and we had a job to do, and we had to get it done. It was hard to see, or fathom, especially while playing. But at one point when the lights hit the rocks and you could see all these people staring at you, you kind of look up at the stars, try not to cry, and just give thanks. That’s all I could do. Try to play well and be humble. I still can’t believe that happened. It was such a magical experience, for all of us, and we continue to look forward to performing in MMBB.
Sue: You must have a massive fan base, by now. Your shows are packed and people are dancing and having so much fun. What’s it like playing here in Bellingham, for people you know, compared to other places?
Will: It’s nice playing for the hometown. People are often engaged and ready for a good time. Sometimes on the road, you had to, like, earn people’s trust to dance or something, it’s a strange dichotomy. But back home, the crowd to usually raring, roaring and ready to go. It’s a nice feeling that after all these years, we can usually sell a bunch of tickets around town. That being said, WillDabeast is still in relatively uncharted waters, being in its infancy, and is often looking for a leg up promotionally and numbers wise. It’s also a hard market to play in sometimes, though. Because, no offense to anyone out there (I’m guilty of it too), and I’m just trying to be real here, a lot of people expect shows to be free and/or cheap. I understand it’s a kind of small market, and a college town, and sometimes people seem to be broke (myself included), but often there’s no way you can charge more than $3-5 seemingly without people storming off. I DJ’d The Green Frog’s SOUL NIGHT every Tuesday since January and people were often appalled that there was a cover (of $2).
Sue: You’re a dad, now. How has that affected making time to play and travel? Will your fiancée and baby tour with you, occasionally?
Will: I am a father. I love my kiddo so much and am happy he’s now joined our awesome little tribe. He’s a really happy kid and likes to play with my musical instruments from time to time. Someone once told me that the divorce rate of a musician is like over 90% or something. So I must admit, outright, it is not easy. But then I think, what is easy? And is easy necessarily what I want? Easy was never the way I imagined things being, so I’m somewhat used to the chaos. My wonderful fiance has more patience and love than anyone I’ve ever met. I’m gone, and I’m gone a lot. When I’m home I’m often practicing with old/new bands, or producing in my studio (orDJing). I also pick up side jobs just to pay the rent. I mow lawns, work in Arturia’s Warehouse and help True Tone Audio build stages for special events. I also travel most weekends to try to earn money for the household and provide for them while still chasing a budding career. Back to the whole ‘charging for money’ thing, one can see how eve beyond just family, it’s important to be compensated for ones time, equipment and travel. Anyway, it’s not easy at all, but nothing ever has been. And I’d rather be happy and treading water than miserable and "rich". Though, I do wish I had more time for my son, I think that ultimately working from home provides me many opportunities other parents do not get.
Sue: Who inspires you?
Will: Honestly the people inspire me. Without the people who show up and care, this would not be worthwhile. The people who interact with us, give feedback and buy merch, the special people who give hugs and put just as much energy into listening as we do performing and creating our crazy forms of music. On a basic level, you've got your general Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Roy Hargrove kind of thing going on as well as Charles Mingus, Marvin Gaye and John Coltrane. My parents always inspire me. They’re both poets. My mom still lives in Bellingham and my dad is a professor and published author who is on the cutting edge of Digital Poetics.
Sue: Who would most likely make you fanboy if you met them?
Will: You know it’s so funny... I’ve met so many “famous” people. I always react differently too. I’ve gotten to meet, hang out and even collaborate with some of my all-time favorite musicians. At the end of the day though, I’ve realized they’re just regular people and if you just treat them as such you tend to get a more meaningful reaction. I remember meeting Harry Connick Jr. last time I was at the airport in New Orleans and I asked him if still made music (because of his acting career). It was horribly embarrassing but also an ice breaker. I’ve met and spoke to Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Herbie Hancock... so many people. But if I ever met someone even bigger like Steve Wonder or Al Green, I probably would not remember how to talk.
Sue: The first time I met you was on a film set for a Honda Commercial. What role does film play in your life?
Will: I love film. I went to school for audio/video production and wish I was able to work more on this regard. That being said, video and visuals play such an important role in the current game. From lighting designers to 3D stages to projection mapping and more, it’s ingrained in the “EDM” culture and I believe it’s only the beginning. Interactive digital video and audio, different ways to touch the senses simultaneously, and pushing the boundaries of how we conceptualize technology will all add to an even bigger desire for both moving forward. I still edit video and shoot from time to time. I recently filmed Polecat’s anniversary at the Majestic, as well as some independent work in down south for Bands In Seattle and Rhapsody.
Sue: What would people be surprised to know about you?
Will: My dad grew up away from home traveling. I traveled a lot too. I spent many trips, down south in Mexico (where my Grandmother is from) as well as plenty of visits to Cuba.
Sue: Where can people find your music?
Sue: What’s the next big thing on the horizon for you?
Will: Just cranking those shows away. We are about to announce a few more WillDabeast shows, then a pending month long tour with Menert in September.
Sue: Anything else you’d like people to know?
Will: I feel like I wasn’t necessarily blessed with the talent it takes to succeed. I was blessed with a drive and burning passion to chase that talent. I’m not saying I’m bad or unskilled in my craft. What I’m saying is I’ve met LOTS of other people who are FAR more talented than myself, and they don’t know how to begin to "put themselves out there". I think I have that uncanny knack, that ability to ride the line of not being overbearing, but putting myself out there in plain sight. It’s a confidence in knowing you can succeed. I only know this from failing so many times in the past, though. It takes time, and perseverance, but the payoff is worthwhile.
Sue: Thanks, Will!
Well, there you have it, Kids. Hard work, perseverance and a little luck will get you far. Don't let the bastards grind you down. Go get it!
Peace out, Dogs. :)
You can prolly guess this, but, I was a weird kid with a huge imagination. I’d make up wild stories on the spot…like the time I told my pre-school teacher that my mom had been married five times. Or the time I convinced one of the babysitters that we always brought the sofa out into the yard. (Me, my little brother and the neighborhood kids DESTROYED that sofa.) Then there was that time I convinced my little brother and the babysitter’s two kids that if we defoliated all the freshly planted saplings in the yard, filled our hands with the tender green leaves and ran down the swing set’s slide… we could fly. I was a born leader…and a compulsive liar. When I told my oldest daughter this story she said “That was SO DANGEROUS” followed by “You’ve always been weird, haven’t you?”
It didn’t stop in middle school…or high school. High octane right brain activity, high iq and a shit childhood will get you someplace. Usually, that place is jail. I was lucky.
I started writing stories as soon as I could string a sentence together. My first story was called “Smelly Horse”. It was about, you guessed it, a stinky horse. It involved the use of Lysol, at some point, and then the usual happy ending. It was one of the 5 best stories in the class. As a reward, I got to read it to the Kindergarteners. I was hooked.
I’ve written hundreds of short stories since then, plays, a novel, short screenplays and a feature length screenplay. Making movies was a natural evolution. I didn’t think about that until about 5 years ago, though. At that point, two of my kids were grown and my third child was a Freshman in High School.
I’m one of a very small handful of women directors in Bellingham. Natalie Fedak is one of these women. At the age of twenty-one, she’s probably the youngest, until someone tells me otherwise.
Natalie has written and directed the first season of her Fantasy Web Series “After Forever”. She also plans to run the first Solar Powered Studio in Bellingham. Very environmentally conscious, this one.
After Forever is the story of Cade. A 623 year old warrior, who as a reward for slaying a dragon and saving her village, was given the gift of imortality. All Cade really wants is to be mortal, and bake scones. So she goes on a quest to find the sorceress who put the spell on her and have that spell lifted.
Me, Sue: When did you start making movies?
Natalie: I started making movies when I was a freshman in college with a team called Finley Mimbles in Tacoma. They were a bunch of passionate students at Evergreen college, and they were the first artists to show me what was possible for young creative types like me.
Me, Sue: Is this what you wanted to do when you grew up?
Natalie: Film making was always in the back of my mind growing up. When I was a six year old bent on becoming a frog researcher, it was partially so that I could be featured in a nature documentary. When I wanted to be a professional soccer player in high school, part of it was the expectation that I'd be famous enough from my sports career that I could easily transition into film after I'd won enough World Cups. When I tore my ACL before college and shifted my academic focus from biology to creative writing, I realized it was time to accept what had always been coming: I'm a story teller. Film is my current medium, and I can't wait to see where it takes me.
Me, Sue: Who inspires you?
Natalie: As a writer, everyone inspires me because everyone has a story. A homeless woman sifting through her collection of plastic bags on a street corner inspires me just as much as Katherine Bigelow or Stanley Kubrick. My mother inspires me because she never tells me I can't do something, but she also lets me fail, learn and grow. Children inspire me because they haven't learned how the world wants them to be yet, so they are wonderfully themselves. And elderly people inspire me, because they've gone through the doldrums of existence and had their essence refined by life experience.
Me, Sue: You’ve got a great sense of humor. Do you have a comedy background?
Natalie: The Dead Parrots Society Club at WWU was a delightful foray into the comedic world during college, but most of my humor comes out of curiosity and not from training. Everything is funny when you look at it too closely.
Me, Sue: Any other projects lined up?
Natalie: Other than the 3022ft. documentary and another un-announced documentary in Alaska, I plan to focus a more on writing and directing than production once After Forever is finished. Even though season 2 is the length of a full-length screenplay, there's a big difference between sitting down to write a feature, and writing short pieces that add up to a full length. It's also been a while since I wrote a script I wasn't planning to produce, and that can be creatively stifling. My juiciest idea at the moment is to adapt Jane Austen's Emma into the 1930's prohibition era Seattle Underground brothel scene. I have character treatments written already and it would be a wonderful blend of drama and humor. Think "Moulin Rouge meets Clueless".
(Note: Here’s the link to the 3022ft. project: http://www.3022ft.com/)
Me, Sue: That sounds rad.
Me, Sue, CONT.: Why did you decide to do a Kickstarter campaign instead of an Indiegogo campaign?
(Note: If a project doesn’t meet the dollar amount with a Kickstarter campaign, the project gets nothing. With Indiegogo, the project gets to keep all the money it raises. They only have 4 days left to raise the rest of the money for season two. They have $3,915 pledged of $6,000 goal. Please give, if you can. Link is at the bottom of the page.)
Natalie: I decided on Kickstarter rather than Indiegogo because I don't half ass anything. Even if we made half our budget and got to keep it through Indiegogo, we would automatically be half-assing our plans for Season 2. People have asked me if it would be better to at least have something to show instead of flat out nothing, but I don't think it's right to compromise on an artistic vision. After Forever requires the budget we laid aside (which is minuscule already), and anything less would be a farce.
Me, Sue: But…But…I did an Indiegogo campaign…Are you calling me half-assed? How big do these pants make my butt look? Like half an ass, would you say?
Me, Sue: I’m totes burning these pants when we’re done here.
(Note: The above question didn’t actually happen.)
Me, Sue: How did your previous Kickstarter campaign go?
Natalie: I haven't run a Kickstarter campaign before, but my film partner Max Romey and I ran an Indiegogo campaign to support post-production on 3022ft. Though we only raised 20% of our goal, it was enough to cover basic post-production costs as well as give me the means to stay self-employed. Fundraising is different with post-production than it is production, since you don't need things in post production, you need people and time. If the people are willing to put in the same amount of time for less money, you can still make it work, but if you can't buy the sets or costumes you need to make a film in the first place, then it all goes down the tubes right away.
Me, Sue: What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans and the community?
Natalie: The main reason we're running a Kickstarter to begin with is because of the fan response we got from season one. People I'd never met were emailing me and Facebooking me, asking when the next bit season coming out. People were drawing fan art and writing music based off the characters, and lots of fellow film makers in the Bellingham community encouraged me to continue the series. Especially after I announced my goal to become Bellingham's first solar powered film set, people were really eager to see what doors this project could open for the community.
Me, Sue: A Solar Powered Set? That’s going to be amazing! The band Cake’s studio is off the grid, or so I’ve heard.
Me, Sue CONT.: Where is your most geographically distant fan located?
Natalie: I'm not quite sure. We have a large following in Germany for some reason.
Me, Sue: Where do you hope this project ends up?
Natalie: I hope this project ends up happening, first of all. After that, I don't really know. It's immediately destined for YouTube, so our gauge for success is a matter of views rather than where else it ends up. I'd love to get a big enough fan base to go to ComicCon in the PNW, and to help crowdfund our next project. Especially with web-based content, if people are engaging and demanding more, than they should pitch in to make it happen. If the response isn't there, then hello Jane Austen in a brothel.
Me, Sue: Nice!
Me, Sue CONT.: Good talk. Thanks, Natalie! Now you ask me some questions! I’ve got SO MUCH to talk about!
*I spin around in my desk chair about nine times while Mongolian Throat Singing Cake’s big hit “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” Pretty much my fucking theme song. Natalie’s too, I’m guessin’…
(Note: That last question didn’t happen either. *Sigh* I have a real problem…)
Please check out season one of After Forever, and for the love of God, give to the Kickstarter campaign. Let’s not piss off Germany, shall we? You remember what happened the last time that happened, right? Don’t make me hold you responsible for another war…and other stuff.
Just fork over the dough, Cheapo. ;-)
I love you. You make me so happy inside. *Happy Face!*
It's a small world, and I like it. It fits me quite nicely...like a glove, actually.
I like a lot of the people in it. I mean, sure, some people are a giant box of misshapen dicks that can land out of nowhere onto your doorstep like a flaming bag of dog shit shot out of a cannon by your civil war re-enacting asshole neighbor's assholier kid...I don't consider that my problem, though. Water off of a ducks back flowing underneath a gently collapsing bridge. The world is small and time is currency. Take up the space you need...Box out, Playa'. Fall in love. Make life bearable for yourself and others, if you can manage it. The insufferable cocktarts in your life will shrivel up and die if you JUST STOP RUBBING THEM.
I don't know if sheer tenacity can get you anywhere in life, or not. I like to believe it can. I don't always get invited to the Reindeer Games. You prolly don't either. Make up your own dang games and invite those other misfits to play with you. Dig, Weirdo? If you can't go over a motherfucker, go the fuck around, or right the fuck through. And don't be afraid to ask for help from your home group of freaks, when you need it. (Personally, I hate asking for help. I need to follow my own advice). We can't always do everything by ourselves, much as we would like to. Nobody loves a whiner, though. Not even the other compulsively creative people who we call family. Try those bootstraps out first, Shlappo, and think your way out of that box. You might be more of an orb person or an octagon, even. Ooooh...sexy, sexy octagons.
Speaking of sexy, Washington state is thick with creative people. THICK, I'M TELLIN' YA'. I want to tell your stories. I want to talk about your projects and your gigs. I'll tell you about mine, too, 'cause fair is fair and you need to learn not to monopolize the conversation. Life is give and take. 69, and what have you.
Me? I'm a Filmmaker, Photographer, Comedian and Song Writer. Thanks for asking!
Here's the short list of what I've got cookin', Good Lookin'.
I just finished Directing and DP'ing a music video for Spindle. They are a band of three lovely women who make some very cool music. I've known Gina (lead singer, multi-instrumentalist) for years. Over the years, Gina and I became friends and I've asked her to compose music for some films I was working on. I've gotten to know Amber (drums) and Casey (bass) over the last year, as well. They are a band that you perhaps don't know about, but should. Check them out on Facebook.
Another recent project that I DP'd was a short film for Crypticon called "Pets". Local Bellingham Filmmaker James Mahoney wrote and directed the piece. Mi Chelle Nessk (Bellingham, too) acted the lead role and Produced.
I have a web series pilot that's been in post production for a little over a year. Family Planning and Other Funny Stories should be out and about in the next month or so.
Family Planning is the story of Kat and her mid-life dating misadventures. The men are weird, and her daughter has anger control issues. The dysfunction is hilarious and always unpredictable. I can't wait for you guys to see it!
I also Produce a touring Stand-Up show called Traveling Comedy Shit Show.
The gist is a filmed house show, a touring comic headlining, with local (to the city I'm in) opening comics.
I throw in short, funny filmed bits, in between acts, for the finished hour long show and post it to Youtube. Here's the first version of a promo. for the show:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EAO29vE6Bk
I also love taking pictures of bands and events. I recently took pictures at the Faith No More concert at The Paramount in Seattle. Dude. I was breathing the same air as Mike Patton. I can understand if you're emotional, right now. I'll give you a moment...
Anyway...Let me know what you're doing. I'm dying to let people know what you've got going on!
I love you. You complete me. <3