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IT’S YOUR DREAM...WHAT ARE YOU WAITIN’ FOR? Quit sitting in a coffee shop all day writing down ideas and daydreaming about your big break...GET UP & DO SOMETHING. We know you want to make it and we want to help you succeed. That’s why we’re inviting you to never miss another issue of the award-winning I Am Entertainment Magazine, or another episode of the new I Am Entertainment: The Podcast on iTunes.

DON’T GO INTO 2014 WITHOUT US. LEARN THE BUSINESS TODAY at I Am Entertainment Magazine and I Am Entertainment The Podcast are free to all who subscribe to our email list at

i Am Entertainment


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 Writers & Producers Issue #25

WRITERS & PRODUCERS 7 | DOREEN SPICER-DANNELLY AWARD WINNING PRODUCER/WRITER. In this exclusive interview with one of the industry’s top writers and producers for the tweens/teens market, we learn the value of diversity.

9 | NELSON RECINOS This Animation Producer/Director talks about his career and the business of making cartoons come to life for us all to enjoy.

11 | AARON COOLEY Child actor, turned filmmaker/author, talks about his journey from auditioning to producing at Joel Schumacher Productions. AARON COOLEY


Alison Victoria

i Am Entertainment


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 Writers & Producers Issue #25

Travel the Road


Tim Scott of the hit TV Series, “Travel The Road”, stops by to talk about his journeys around the world with partner, Will Decker, to some of the most remote, war-torn and God-less places on the Earth. Go with them as they risk their lives on extreme missions trips to share the good news of Christ with those who just might kill them.





Five awesome holiday movies that you should check out to get you in the Christmas spirit.

A look at the iZotope RX3 audio repair software that has helped countless audio engineers repair damaged recordings.



This article breaks down some key ways that film professionals can break down doors to those hard to reach executives in Film & TV.

Four incredible books about making it in the music business, from Hal Leonard Books.



A look at what’s coming to Redbox, Hulu, and DVD this fall. From blockbuster hits, to indie flicks, you’ll get a good look at the lineup.

TAUREN WELLS the front man from the Provident/Sony pop-rock band talks about their latest release.

19 | GRACE GIBSON One of the stars from the Thanksgiving Day box office release, Black Nativity, stops by to talk about the movie and her journey to this debut breakout role in her career.

21 | BRUNO GUNN Hunger Games 2’s, BRUTUS, shares how he got the role in this epic holiday film.


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

27 Sergio George

Multi-Grammy Winning Record Producer

talks about the business of producing hit records and why it’s important to focus on the music and not the business side of the industry. “When you start worrying about the business it’s starts to taint your decisions in the studio.”

31 | BRIAGHA MCTAVISH INDIE ARTIST MAKING HER WAY talks about her latest release and the struggles she has experienced as an indie artist.

32 | DEFINING SUCCESS MARKETING EXEC helps artists evaluate their success plans.

33 | ALBUM REVIEWS Reviews of some of today’s hottest new Under The Radar releases.

BRUNO GUNN The Hunger Games 2

i am Entertainent

The Entertainer’s Handbook


Editor’s Word

PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media


Ending Strong



s we enter the holiday season, I’m sure most of you are evaluating your year and considering what changes you want to make in 2014. My hope is that you have seen some progress in your career in entertainment, as you have put into practice some of the tips you’ve picked up in some of the interviews and articles we have published in 2013.

Just like you, the team at I Am Entertainment has been hard at work looking for better ways to entertain, educate and inspire you. Recently, we launched I Am Entertainment The Podcast which is available at no cost to you via iTunes and the website. Our podcast show hosts, Shaine (IAE’s CEO) and Kima Charysse (Singer/Actress), have been doing a fabulous job with keeping you informed and entertained. Covering topics like: “How To Get A Manager/Talent Agent”, “How To Get Paid From NetFlix”, and more. The show has also had some pretty awesome interviews with entertainers like Hill Harper (Covert Affairs, CSI: NY) and Tauren Wells from Sony/Provident rock funk band, Royal Tailor. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new podcast go check it out now on iTunes. Don’t forget to rate and review it. We’re ending the year on a great note. This issue’s cover girl, Alison Victoria, is fiercely competitive and exudes a champion’s confidence. If you’re obsessed with home improvement shows then you’re likely tuning into “Kitchen Crashers” on the DIY Network to see Alison transform homes on TV. In a male-dominated industry, Alison’s not afraid to show her feminine side, bringing class and style to the airwaves. In this interview she discusses how she got her start and eventually became the host of “Kitchen Crashers”. You can also hear a portion of her interview on I Am Entertainment: The Podcast. This issue also marks our 3rd Annual “WRITERS & PRODUCERS ISSUE”. Those writers and producers featured are responsible for some of today’s top shows and music. We’re so pleased to have Aaron Cooley, Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, Nelson Recinos, Tim Scott, and 11x Grammy winning producer, Sergio George. If you’re looking to find out what it truly takes to make it as a writer or producer, you’ll want to read these interviews. As you go into this issue, I hope you will find it to be of great inspiration to you. One of the things that brings me joy as the Editor of this great publication is hearing about your success. So please, don’t hesitate to share your feedback. I’m always happy to hear your thoughts and answer your questions about the entertainment business. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let’s end the year with a bang! Ready, set, go…



I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Candy Freeman, Leslie White, Shaine Freeman, Senseitional, Chandra Lynn CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Please see interviews/articles ADVERTISING: Print Subscriptions (US): $20 for 1 year, $30 for 2 years I Am Entertainment Magazine PO Box 263 Kennesaw, GA 30152 Tel: 818-813-9365 Article Submissions & General Info: I Am Entertainment Magazine is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November by I Am Entertainment Media, LLC (IAE). The opinions expressed by our contributors falls under their constitutional rights of free speech. While we have made extensive efforts to ensure that the content herein has been obtained through reliable sources, IAE is not liable for any errors or omissions, typographical errors, or misprints. IAE reserves the right to refuse any advertising which it deems unsuitable. All advertisers agree to hold the publisher harmless and indemnify any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs, and expenses (including attorney’s fees) made against or incurred by the publisher, including but not limited to the sole negligence and/or fault of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics, or representations of any ads published herein, or of the condition of the articles sold through the paper, or performance of service advertised in this publication. All advertisements and submissions are wholly the property of IAE and cannot be copied in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We reserve the right to edit or refuse any ad and reprint any ad or photo for promotional use. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2013. All issues of I Am Entertainment Magazine are wholly the property of IAE and shall not be printed, copied, duplicated, or distributed without expressed written consent from the publisher. I Am Entertainment is a trademark of IAE. ISSN 2161-9093 (print) ISSN 2161-3109 (digital)





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When it comes to creating great movies and TV shows that showcase diversity, this Brooklyn native has the gift. Through her unique talent for writing successful tweens/ teens shows, Doreen SpicerDannelly has proven her worth in Hollywood.

THE WANNABES Starring Savvy Writer & Developer Network: Starz Kids & Family THE PROUD FAMILY Writer, Developer, Supervising Producer Network: Disney Channel JUMP IN (TV Movie) Writer Network: Disney Channel Source:


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

What was it like for you in the very beginning of your career? In the beginning, I was an intern. Kids who are interested in breaking into this business have to have some kind of mentor or alumni who is willing to take them under their wing. I actually had alumni, Samm-Art Williams, who was co-executive producer on “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.” He was also a producer on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” That was my entre into the business, as an intern. I got my first real job when some other kid got fired. The late 90’s was a wonderful time because there were lots of (TV) shows that were based on African-American characters, so black writers were working. But then, suddenly those shows disappeared or got marginalized, and you didn’t see very many of them anymore. That’s when I discovered that an African-American female writer in Hollywood was not the “norm.” Let’s be honest, executive producers and show runners want to be comfortable and be able to say whatever they want so, they’re going to be less likely to hire someone who may be offended by what they say. That left a lot of black writers out of work so, I actually had to struggle. I signed onto a temp

agency and worked as a receptionist for a commercial company, working my way up to executive assistant. During that same time, I did a speaking engagement at Lincoln University because this kid there wanted some people from Hollywood to come and speak to the students. While at Lincoln University, the school told me that Bruce Smith was there and he was actually looking for a writer. They suggested that I hook up with him when I get back to LA, and that’s what I did. So, essentially, I went to Lincoln to make a connection with a person in Hollywood; but it was because I stayed proactive. How did you wind up working with Disney on “The Proud Family”? After I got back from the Lincoln University panel, I was still temping. I made the connection with Bruce Smith and he sat me down and showed me some art drawings of these character he came up with. He told me the story and I was so excited. The original Penny Proud character Bruce drew looked so much like me, and I was really shocked because I had never seen a light-skinned black character being set up for animation. It just showed me that hanging in there has it’s perks, and it eventually pays off.




His production company took my spec script and hired me. They gave me two weeks, but I wrote it in two hours and waited a week to show them. I didn’t want to come off as being too excited; I wanted to play it cool. [laughs] I sent it back to them and it took two years before “The Proud Family” actually got picked up. That’s why I stayed in LA temping and holding on for it to get picked up. I actually went home to visit my parents and told them that I have to move back because I didn’t know how I could survive any longer in LA. Temping was too inconsistent. Ironically, about 20 minutes after talking to my parents, I get a call from Bruce Smith and he says, “We got picked up by Disney for 26 episodes!” [laughs] It’s crazy, but that’s how it happened. You incorporate diversity into your work a lot; was that something you always wanted to do? Absolutely! As a child, when I looked at television, I realized there wasn’t enough that spoke to me. The shows that I grew up on were shows like, “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family”. But, my favorite shows were “Different Strokes” and “Facts of Life” because I saw at least some representation of myself in these

shows. I also watched “The Jackson 5” and “Fat Albert” cartoons because that was all there was for black kids to identify with on TV. Not that I didn’t enjoy shows where there were no black characters; it’s just that my viewpoint was from a kid who was growing up half Puerto Rican and half African-American in the projects in Brooklyn. My world wasn’t just one race of people. I grew up around Italians, Indians, Asians, and Jews too. I witnessed so many different cultures and television didn’t reflect my reality.

“I’ve always wanted to create shows that gave kids of all races a character they could identify with.” I had a love for the arts and I wanted to see some changes, but what got me thinking was the show, “Benson” (Robert Guillaume). Benson was the butler to a governor and he asked the little girl, Katie (Missy Gold), what she

wanted to be when she grew up. I don’t think anyone had ever asked me that so, that question stayed in my mind. I’ve always wanted to create shows that gave kids of all races a character they could identify with. Do I understand the politics and the control of it all? Absolutely! Am I afraid of it? No! What advice would you like to share with women who are trying to make it in TV & Film? Don’t look at the obstacles because, if you do you’ll be discouraged. Just do whatever you do to the best of your ability. It’s not enough to just be good, you have to be excellent at it. The only way to do that is to continue to sharpen your skills, and quite frankly, do it. You cannot sit around and wait for people to give you an opportunity these days. When I see statistics that say there were 250 top grossing films made and only 18% were dominated or held by women, it forces me to focus on the vision that I have in front of me and go for it. If you get bogged down with the obstacles that you are facing you will never get out of your seat. Just turn a blind eye to the obstacles and keep pressing forward. iae



ANIMATION RESUME LOONEY TUNES Animator Warner Brothers He-Man Animator Filmation Pinky & The Brain Director Warner Brothers ANIMANIACS Director Warner Brothers


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Please tell us where you’re from and what inspired you to pursue a career in animation? I’m from Central America. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Guatemala. My father was a minister and we moved to many cites in these countries. As a kid, I watched cartoons like, “Looney Tunes (Warner Brothers)”, “Popeye the Sailorman”, and the Disney classic films. I used to draw these characters all the time. I think I was five years old when I started (drawing). In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought I would end up working on the Classic Warner characters. How did you land your first job in animation? I was in college and my brother, Bill, who was working at Hanna Barbera, suggested that I take the evening animation classes that the studio was offering (at the time) to potential animators. I had to show some of my drawings, and that’s how I got in. The classes were taught by animators who worked during the day and stayed for a few hours after to teach. I had the opportunity to learn from some of the best animators (of that time). After I finished with the program, I was offered a job.

I worked for Hanna Barbera on a few shows, and then I went to work for Filmation and worked on He-Man, She-Ra and other shows. After that, I went to work for Warner Brothers in the classics department. We did a lot of TV commercials using most of the classic characters, such as: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Porky Pig, and various other classic characters. After working in the Warner Brothers classics department for a few years, I became a director and worked on “Pinky and the Bain.” What a great show! The writing was amazing! Young kids liked the silliness of Pinky, while college kids enjoyed the clever ways that the Brain would try to take over the world. (laughs) For those of us who do not understand what an animated producer/director does, please share what is involved in your job? The producer is in charge of the whole show. He or she approves the final production and look of the show. The director also approves the overall production and look of the show, but also gives notes to the different departments before sending the show to the producer for final approval.


What do Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, He-Man, She-Ra, and Porky Pig all have in common? If you said, Nelson Recinos, then you’d be right! In this exclusive interview with one of the animators behind some of our favorite cartoon characters, we get a rare glimpse into the unseen world behind our fondest childhood memories.


What are the differences between traditional, computer, and flash animation development? Traditional animation was done using paper and pencil. We used to hand draw each sequence of drawings on separate sheets of paper to complete the action (like a flip book). Next, the drawings would be transferred to a celluloid, which was a transparent plastic, to be colored. Backgrounds were painted and shot together with each drawing twice on an animation camera. CGI (computer generated image) is used to build an animation character. A drawing is scanned into the computer to create a model, then texture is applied to add detail. That character image is displayed on the computer screen and repeatedly replaced by a new image that is similar to the previous image, but it’s advanced slightly in the time domain (usually at a rate of 24 or 30 frames per second). This technique is identical to how the illusion of movement is achieved with television and motion pictures. Maya is the most commonly used software to acheive this. I personally, like to use Maya, After Effects, Photoshop, and Avid for editing. What are some of the challenges of producing animated TV shows for children? Some of the challenges are keeping the stories consistent, making sure they are good and engaging on all episodes, and making sure the artists keep the look of the characters the same all the time. Are animators required to be part of a guild or union? Yes, The Animation Guild. After you find work on an animation studio, you are required to join the union. What projects are you currently working on? I’m working on two projects at the moment: “The Magic of Discovery” and “Game Access”. “The Magic of Discovery” is a multiethnic preschool show that teaches and motivates children to learn about the arts, music, culture, dance, history, and the languages of different regions around the world. The reason I created this project was because, for the past months, I’ve been tutoring inner-city elementary school children who are way behind in their

ics. I’ve been helping them with Language Arts, Math, and History. I know this show will teach and introduce children to many interesting people and places. The main characters: Carl, Rosie, Antoine and Lin are transported to different cities, countries, or time periods where they will meet the young child versions of famous composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Frederic Chopin, scientists like Albert Einstein and Alfred Nobel, inventors like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, computer wizards like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, painters such as Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo. These famous people were once children who, at the age of 7 or 8, were already something special. Kids will learn a lot about these prodigious masters. They will travel to places like Russia, Germany, France, Italy, England, India, Spain, China, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and many other countries to learn about their people and cultures. On my show, “Game Access,” the main character is Katie Styles. She’s not your typical 9 year old girl. Instead of playing with dolls and other girls her age, she’d rather invest her time into playing video games, which usually gets her into trouble at home and school. Game Access is a combination of 2D traditional animation and CG computer animation. It references well known video games and teaches children how to balance their time between game play and schoolwork. Game Access combines action, adventure, humor, and morals.

“I’ve been tutoring inner-city elementary school children who are way behind in their academics. I’ve been helping them with Language Arts, Math, and History. I know this show will teach and introduce children to many interesting people and places.” - Nelson Recinos on “The Magic of Discovery”, a show he’s seeking to have picked up.

What advice would you like to share with aspiring animation artists? Take drawing classes, draw as much as you can, even if now most schools teach computer animation. Because the character design is still drawn by artists who have drawing skills. Also, take writing classes and watch classic Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons. If you can change anything about the business side of the animation industry, what would it be and why? Stop runaway production. We are sending almost all of the work to overseas studios. We need to give new, up-and-coming artists a chance to find work in the US. iae NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment





From child actor to Producer at Joel Schumacher Productions, Aaron Cooley shares his journey in the Film & TV industry; what he’s learned and what he’s doing these days.

Please tell us where you’re from and what inspired you to get into entertainment? I grew up in Portland and I was a child actor. In terms of how that started, I guess my mom is to blame. [laughs] My first memory was after I had already done a commercial. Basically, I’ve been in the business longer than I can remember. When I got to high school age, my parents just wanted me to go to school and get a good education so, I was out of the business for high school and college. I was still involved in the arts as a theater major in college, though. Then I came to LA and wound up being one of those guys who wasn’t from LA. I knew about 3 people to start and I was trying my best to make a career out of it. I had accomplished some things I’m proud of but, I’ve still got a lot of goals and places I want to go. A novel by Filmmaker/Author, Aaron Cooley For more information visit:


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

What led you to start producing? I always wanted to try each facet of the business. As a theater major, my concentration was in directing. When I got to LA after college, I thought I would still act. I had the unfulfilled expectations from everyone because I was a child actor who never was a star. Acting is a really hard life for most people.

Any role you can get, even if it’s a reenactment gig on a true crime show is a great gig. I’ve learned that, unless you’re one of those 20 lucky people, acting isn’t very creatively fulfilling. I wasn’t really passionate about acting anymore because you don’t have any control over when you work. Within a year of moving to LA, I decided that I wanted to have a path where I had more control over the things that I got to create and work on. I have a job in a director’s production company and I’ve worked for Joel for 11 years and we’ve done a lot of different things. Sometimes I love what I’m doing and sometimes I don’t, but that’s part of having a job. That’s one reason why I wrote my own book; so that I can always have an outlet for what I’m passionate about. If you want to make God laugh, make plans. [laughs] A lot of people make goals for the next 5 years, but this business is too hard and crazy to make goals in. “Shaken Not Stirred”, is your novel about Ian Fleming. It is such a great read. Have you ever considered getting it optioned? Thanks! Shaken, Not Stirred is meant to pay


“If you want to make God laugh, make plans...” - Aaron Cooley


age to the (James) Bond movies. It’s supposed to feel like a movie when you read it. One of the reasons I wrote it as a novel instead of it being a screenplay is because there are competing projects. There’s been a movie at Warner Brothers that Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to for years and I’m not sure if that movie will ever happen. That project is good enough to scare off the marketplace from anyone else wanting to do it. I think my next book will likely be a movie before “Shaken Not Stirred” will. What projects are you currently working on? One of the projects I’m really excited about is in the early starting stages with a division of Tyler Perry’s company, 34th Street Films. I’m also excited about a movie that Joel is currently writing that’s supposed to shoot in China, and I’m helping (Joel) write the story on that. Those are probably my top two things at the moment. Do you only work with writers who are members of the WGA? We’re not particular about it at all. We just like

to work with great writers, whether they’re union or not. My boss’ last movie had a budget of only $30 million, and the one before that was $4 million so, we’re doing movies of all sizes. We’re not snotty about working with only union members. If you want to sell a movie to Universal, that’s a union company so, the writer has to join the Writers Guild when he/she sells his/her script to Universal. I think most writers would be excited to join WGA. What should writers know about the pitching process? I think the main thing you have to be ready to do is make it more of a conversation and not just a pitch. If it’s too rehearsed then, the moment someone interrupts you it’s going to throw you off your pitch. You’re flirting with disaster when you come in too rehearsed. Pitching is a lot like auditions; what happens is totally out of your control. You go in and sometimes they’re hanging on your every word; then an hour later, you go to a different audition and the producers and director are on their iP-

hones and laptops not even looking at you. But, what many actors have learned is that, sometimes when you think you’ve had a bad audition, it’s the people who didn’t look like they were interested in you that end up giving you the role. It doesn’t happen every time but, what you learn early on when you’re auditioning as an actor is, everyone is so different, and some people are weird. You really can’t tell how into something people are just by their reactions. The truth is, with a pitch, the second I open my mouth and say, “It’s set in the 1940’s, during War World II, and it’s a story on Ian Fleming,” that person is probably thinking, “Oh great! We already have a War World II movie, I can’t buy this.” I keep giving the pitch for 10 minutes and they shake my hand and I walk out. They had already decided in the first few seconds that this is not going to work for them. So, I didn’t sell it. But that’s something that is totally out of my control. You can’t beat yourself up and get down on yourself if you don’t sell it. All you can do is prepare your best and go in there and give it your all. iae

NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment


DID YOU KNOW: The first Christmas film ever made was called “Santa Claus” and it was created in 1898 in the UK. The film was very short at just over a minute long, and shows a nanny tucking a brother and sister into bed on Christmas eve. Then, Santa appears and leaves toys. Watch it on YouTube under “Santa Claus (1898)”.


Must Watch HOLIDAY Flicks

3 Christmas Vacation (1989)

For The Whole Family Here are some classic family-friendly Christmas movies that you can watch with the kids while you decorate the tree.

RUDOLPH (1964)

*Source: worldwide user rating.

It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeear! Yep, it’s time to break out the egg nog and Swiss Miss, light the fireplace, bring out the lights and other ridiculous yard decorations, pull the fake Christmas tree out of the garage, and go broke buying gifts for people you don’t see all year. Yes friends, it’s holiday season in America. But here are a few movies to get you in “the spirit”.

1 A Christmas Story (1983)

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a timeless classic. I haven’t seen a kid yet, who does not like this movie.

Genre: Comedy Rated: R A classic Chevy Chase movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of the funniest holiday flicks ever made. Whether he’s electricuting a cat with christmas lights, or getting a squirrel out of the oversized Christmas tree he bought, Clark Griswold provides plenty of holiday cheer/laughter with his antics. This is a definite must see if you need a laugh after Black Friday wears you out.

4 A Wonderful Life (1946) Genre: Comedy/Family Rated: PG Set in the 1940s, a little boy in Indiana named Ralphie, expemds all of his energy trying to convince his parents, his teacher, and the local mall Santa Claus that it’s a good idea to give him a Red Ryder B.B. gun for Christmas. But, the only thing Ralphie hears is, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” This is a must watch movie that TBS has committed to airing for 24 hours straight every Christmas Eve. Oddly, I will sit and watch it at least 4x that night.

2 The Nativity Story (2006)


One of the all-time greatest Christmas movies made, Home Alone takes the absurd and pushes it to its limits. Kids and parents alike love this film so much it gets watched year ‘round.


“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is another must watch Christmas show. While atheists have protested it’s airing, this movie should be played on TV every year, no matter who hates it.


Genre: Drama/Family/Fantasy Rated: G Depending on who you are, this is a holiday classic that truly touches the soul. Probably the most watched Christmas movie of all time, “A Wonderful Life” is a story that puts into perspective the true meaning of being thankful you’re alive. It’s a tear jerker.

A Dr. Seuss favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is an awesome cartoon to watch no matter how old you are.


5 Friday After Next (2002) “The Muppets Christmas Carol” is the retelling of Ebenezer Scrooge’s story, but with Kermit, Fozzy, Piggie, and the gang. This movie makes for a great viewing during the holiday season.


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Genre: Comedy Rated: R One of my all-time holiday season favorites, Ice Cube, Mike Epps, and crew provide tons of ridiculous, over-the-top humor in this third installment of the Friday trilogy. I watch this movie at least three times every December. It’s a late night, stay in the house and laugh because it’s too cold outside kinda movie. Don’t try to make sense of it, just watch it.

We all know who Frosty The Snowman is, and we undoubtedly know his story thanks to the song and this cartoon. It’s a great story that’s fun to watch, even though it’s 44 years old. It would be a shame if parents didn’t teach their kids about Frosty.

Images are the property of their respective owners.

FROSTY (1969)

Genre: Drama/Family Rated: PG You don’t have to be a Christian to know about The Nativity Story, or watch this movie about it. No matter what you believe, if you live in America you know that Jesus Christ is the reason the holiday exists (hence the word Christmas). This movie is a wonderful film adaptation of the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ. I watch it each year because it’s just a flat out beautiful story. I’ve seen a number of movies about the Nativity but this one tops them all hands down.

FAMOUS FORMER INTERNS: When she was just a sophomore at Tennessee State University, Oprah Winfrey was an intern at CBS-affiliate TV station, WTFV • Brooke Shields volunteered at the San Diego Zoo through an internship program at her high school


NETWORKING EFFECTIVELY Who Knows You Back: Getting Your Foot In “The Door”

Image from the movie ‘Boomerang’ courtesy of Paramount Pictures

By: Shaine Freeman

Pictured (l-r): Chris Rock (office mail boy) and Eddie Murphy in “Boomerang” (1992)

We’ve all heard the statement, “It’s not what you know, but who you know...” and this is true to some extent. But, in most cases in entertainment it’s about who knows you back. One of the primary reason many people never attain the level of success they desire is because they don’t effectively build and utilize their network. Networking with those who drive the business is key

when you’re aspiring to reach the next “level” of your profession. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to do it properly because we’re so busy putting people above us that we can’t see ourselves as an asset to others. Bear in mind, a person’s “title” doesn’t make them any better than you, it just means they’ve already made it to the position you’re aspiring to have someday. So, how do you get your foot in “the door” so that people will know you back? Well, here are some ways to do that. a) Internships – This is the fastest way to get your foot in the door to learn your profession and find out who the real players are. Many of the execs you aspire to connect with started as interns. b) Mail Room – Working in the mail rooms of successful companies

can get your foot in the door too. The key is to be observant and pay attention to who’s who. Don’t be afraid to ask the execs how you can move up. Watch Chris Rock’s character in the movie, “Boomerang,” if you need an example. c) Assistant – Being an assistant to a successful entertainment professional who works in the field you aspire to be in is another great way to get in. Being an assistant is not an easy job, and often times it makes you the brunt of your employer’s ego trips, but if you don’t mind that then go for it. d) Mentorship – You could write a mentorship request letter to the person who holds the position you aspire to have someday. Mentors can provide you with advice and even introductions to people who can help you advance quicker.




I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Alison Victoria

The Kitchen Crasher

COVER STORY How did you get started with interior design? I was the Creative Director at a casino in Las Vegas, as well as the owner my own firm (that I opened when I was 25) called, “Alison Victoria Interiors”. I started getting tons of clients and traveling all over the place, and then the economy dropped a little bit. Thankfully, I got a call from the casino and they asked me to design the whole resort so, I moved back to Las Vegas because, at the time, I was living in Chicago. Before I knew it I was completely engrained in the fabric of the casino and I wanted more. That’s when I got promoted to VP of Marketing for the casino, and I was doing everything from designing, branding, hiring and firing, casino promotions, and concerts - which included picking the band and designing the concert venue. At the same time, I was still designing for private clients in Chicago at Trump Towers. Wow! So, how did you wind up hosting DIY’s “Kitchen Crashers”? One day I was included in a random mass email to several designers in Chicago that said, “We’re a production company based out Sacramento (CA) and we’re looking for somebody to be a designer on a home improvement show. Is anyone interested?” I wrote back and said, “I’m your girl! If you want to meet me and my crew at the Trump Towers meet me on one of these days. You’re going to love us!” That’s the confidence you must have in yourself. It’s knowing you can have it, even though you don’t yet. It’s saying, “I’m the one you want to hire.” It’s the power of positive thinking. So, the production company came to (Chicago) and met with me. When it was over, they told me the job was mine. But, then they said I was going to be a “ghost designer” for the show “House Crashers w/ Josh Temple”. I thought, “Oh, that stinks! Well, at least I’ll get my logo on the show and I can use this as a stepping stone. You never know!” As things progressed the production company heads liked me and felt that I needed to be in front of the camera. My response was, “I love you! I think you’re right!” [laughs] Before I knew it, I was on the contractor’s side, and they had put me on the show. That led to the production company and the network scouting me. They were shooting me with my clients, and at the casino. The producers had this hybrid show idea where I would be this designer slash executive at a casino, and the show was going to be called, “Stripped”; as in, the Las Vegas Strip. They were trying to sell me on this and I told them, I didn’t want to do that. I never wanted to get into TV as a profession; I always knew I wanted to be a designer. Then, I thought, “Wow, I can be a designer and be seen by millions of people. I could influence them and get my words and ways out there. How cool would that be?” So, I told the

production company, “I really don’t want to do, ‘Stripped’. Nobody knows who I am and there is a disconnect between designing and then being an executive at a casino. I don’t think people would really understand that. But, what if you let me be the first female ‘crasher’ and I can do kitchens?” I pitched myself to them and they loved it. Within a month we were shooting. I’m not a firm believer in being “lucky”. I think “luck” may happen once or twice in life, and then the rest is up to you. You have to maintain it and work for what you want. I was working at the casino, as a TV show host, and continuing my work with private clients in my own firm for about a year. Then, I realized that I was starting to really enjoy TV hosting, so I decided to go full force into it. I still have my design firm and I do a couple of big clients each year, but I don’t try to stretch myself too much.

me want to get through it even more. Insecurity is one of the worst feelings in the world; I literally hate it. Those books gave me the assurance I needed. The first thing I did to excercise my self-confidence when I was working as a design assistant and an unpaid intern in college is, I pitched myself to the owner of the largest builder in Las Vegas. I met with him and said, “I want to work for your company and I’m graduating from college soon.” He told me to come to his office and he hired me. I was the youngest designer at his firm. From there, I learned a lot from both my successes and failures, which built my confidence. Everything was a stepping stone toward success. With design, marketing, and branding you either have it or you don’t. I went to school with a lot of people who tried to be designers but, they didn’t have “it”. It’s truly a gift; you can’t learn how to be a good designer. I hate to say it that way, but it’s so true. From your perspective, does reality TV add value to people’s lives? It depends on the show. You have “The Kardashians”, and then you have “Kitchen Crashers”. They’re on two completely different realms in reality TV. On my show, I don’t even have a makeup artist or a hair stylist. I come in and do my own makeup and hair, and then I get dirty and mess up [laughs]. Then you have the other types of reality TV shows that portray these girls living a lifestyle that is unattainable for most people. You see them with all the hair and makeup, houses, cars, clothes, and other luxury items, and it’s pretty skewed. I think there’s a good balance of healthy reality, versus unhealthy and skewed reality. Ours (Kitchen Crashers) is more realistic and healthy.

“That’s the confidence you must have in yourself. It’s knowing you can have it even though you don’t yet. It’s saying, ‘I’m the one you want to hire.’ It’s the power of positive thinking.” Alison Victoria What I think is awesome is that you had no fear of failing. So many people are afraid to step out there and go for it! Failure is an amazing thing. I can go on and on about it. I’ve read three books in my life and each of them helped change the way I view life. One of those books is, “Made To Stick,” and another one is, “Six Secrets to Six Figure Women”. That last one I mentioned is the book that changed my life and motivated me as a professional woman. When I feel insecure, it makes

What advice would you like to share with young girls who are interested in doing what you do for a living? A lot of people are going to tell you it’s about who you know, and maybe that’s true, but for me, this (TV) isn’t something that I went after. The opportunity was put in front of me and I just didn’t let it go. I knew when I was young I was good at design and nothing was going to stop me from being a designer. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from being the best designer out there. I have to model that confidence with my clients because they will refer me to others. It’s important that you always present yourself in the best light possible. Make the very best impression you can, even if you don’t get the job because, your good impression will be a lasting one. It’s all about making a mark and leaving a footprint wherever you go. Staying on the track of getting to your goals is key. Whatever those goals are, don’t stop or give up, and never listen to people when they say you can’t do it. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I had listened to outside negative talk. iae NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment






Hugh Jackman

Budget $120 Million Worldwide Gross Still in theaters at the time of publishing this article.

The Wolverine (Marvel/Dune/Fox)

Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Action Runtime: 2hrs 06 min Releasing: December 3rd Cast: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto


ugh Jackman is the man! He has taken one of my childhood favorites from the Marvel Comics brand and truly brought the character to life. The Wolverine is a must see film that is filled with action and great visual and special effects. With a box office gross of more than $375 million worldwide (at the time this article was written), The Wolverine is likely to end its box office rampage well over $400 million. Making a big splash in China, the film’s second largest market at $38 million so far, The Wolverine has raked in over $220 million in non-US box office earnings. While many feel that the “XMen Origins: Wolverine” was a bad film, the box office numbers didn’t reflect that. In my opinion, anytime top movie critics say it’s a bad movie, it’s probably worth

17 I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Smurfs 2 (Sony/Columbia) seeing. The reason I say this is because critics today tend to go into a movie looking for a “gripe moment”. They overanalyze the story instead of just enjoying the action sequences. Writers, studios, and audiences are not the same as they were back when the Indiana Jones, Die Hard, and Terminator franchises first launched. Knowing this, I went into watching The Wolverine with that in mind. I enjoyed the action and the fact that 99.5% of the stuff on the screen was not humanly possible LOL. If you’re looking for a break from the Christmas movies this holiday season, go out and pick this DVD up. If you want to Red Box it first, then feel free to do so. But as for me, I’ll be buying this one and adding it to my collection of over the top action movies.

Rated ‘PG’ Genre: Family Comedy Runtime: 1hr 45min Gross: $346.5 Million World Releasing: December 3rd Cast: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays

Despicable Me 2 (Universal)

Rated ‘PG’ Genre: Animation Runtime: 1hr 38min Gross: N/A Releasing: December 10th Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher, Dad Gaier

Fast & Furious 6 (Universal)

Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Action Runtime: 2hrs 10min Gross: $788.7 Million World Releasing: December 10th Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Jordana Brewster

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Fox)

Rated ‘PG’ Genre: Fantasy Runtime: 1hr 46min Gross: N/A Releasing: December 17th Cast: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin

DVD Release Source:, Box Office Gross Numbers:

By: Shaine Freeman

ABOUT BROTHER vs BROTHER: Drew and Jonathan Scott are identical twin brothers from Canada. Drew specializes in real estate acquisitions, while Jonathan is a licensed contractor who renovates the fixeruppers Drew finds for homeowners. ‘Brother vs. Brother’ is a series on HGTV where the brothers mentor their respective teams in a head to head competition for $50,000.




Please tell us where you’re from and what inspired you to pursue a career in designing? I’m from a really small town in Western Pennsylvania where I grew up doing barn chores and having to go out and feed the animals with my sister. I would spend hours standing in the barn imagining how I would renovate it, if I could turn the barn into a house. I used to rearrange my bedroom but, I was never allowed to repaint it. I think I rearranged my room every weekend. [laughs] I didn’t know interior design existed as a career option. In college I studied Theater Art and Architecture so, I was always working in design. But, it wasn’t until after college that I realized I could apply design to residential spaces. Going through the process of self discovery and realizing that I was really good at this was really an organic thing, for me. How did you wind up on HGTV? A few years ago, a production company found my website and reached out to me because they needed an organizational expert to come on their show on the Style Network for a couple of episodes. I did that and really liked doing it, but nothing happened after that. Then, one of my friends who works in TV production mentioned that I should look into getting on HGTV because they are always looking for people, and one way is through Craigslist. So, I sat on the idea for about a week and then the first place I looked was on Craigslist. When I did, I saw a post on there for an open call that HGTV was having so, I went to the open call and there were hundreds of people there. I went through 3 different interviews before I finally got the call that they had selected me for one of their shows.

Wow! Craigslist of all places. So, talk about your work on “Brother vs. Brother”. I’m learning a whole new set of skills. I’ve learned things from the production aspect of these design shows that I’ve been able to apply in my real world design work. In the production world, everything happens a lot faster. In a real world application the design process is longer and you get a lot of time to deliberate about choices. On a TV show you have limited selections, and you must make your choices faster. I initially thought this would be bad for the end product because, I’m not getting every option that’s out there. But, being on ‘Brother vs. Brother’ has helped me let go of fretting over the small details. I’ve learned to focus on the big picture, and the end results are always great. You mentioned having a short timeframe on TV shows; can you share how short that is? While there has been some planning ahead of time, we literally show up at the crack of dawn and work 12 to 14 hour days. Obviously, each day is different and it depends on the challenge. It can be a two to four day challenge so, everything you see is literally how much time we have. I don’t think it’s translatable to real life because, we have a whole crew and tons of support. So I don’t think it’s realistic to watch a show on HGTV and try to have your contractor come in and do all of that work on the weekend just because you saw it done on our show. [laughs] The good thing about not having much time to do the work is that I have learned some strategies on decision making that have helped me speed up my work in real life. iae




Host of Divine Design


Host on Rehab Addict


Co-Host of Love It or List It Too


Host of Dear Genevieve and HGTV Design Star


Featured Designer on HGTV’s Designed to Sell

NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment



THE ORIGINS OF ‘BLACK NATIVITY’: Originally written by Langston Hughes, Black Nativity retells the story of the birth of Jesus (the Nativity story), but with African-American characters. The show was one of the first plays written by an African-American to ever be staged Off-Broadway (1961).



ou don’t know her yet, but you will come Turkey Day 2013. On that day, Grace Gibson will show the world her talents for the first time in the highly anticipated film, BLACK NATIVITY (Fox). In this exclusive interview, the singer/actress shares her journey from public obscurity, to big screen exposure.


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Tell us about where you’re from and what got you interested in a career in film? I was born in Los Angeles but, I was raised primarily in New York City. My father was British and my mother is African-American. We moved all over during my childhood but, New York is home for me. I loved film but it wasn’t my main passion; music was my calling. I knew that I wanted to be a singer and film is more of an extension of my passion for the arts. Up to this point, what has been your roughest moment with trying to get your career off the ground? I don’t like to wallow in my trials, so it’s hard for me to say what my roughest moment was. I can say that getting through the technical side of it can be a little tough when you’re not necessarily that great at it. Finding the confidence to keep going and practicing wasn’t easy because, I wasn’t always the best dancer in class, or the best singer in my school. I started auditioning when I was 13 years old. Then when I was 15 years old, I was signed to Wilhelmina but, I never got a job, not once. [laughs] So, I had the luxury of early rejection. I was a late bloomer, which was a struggle as a kid. Understanding how to deal with rejection is really a lifestyle of its own. I’ve been dealing with it from such an early age that, even though it still hurts when it happens, I’ve learned to move on to the next thing and stay focused.

Talk a little bit about your role in the upcoming movie, BLACK NATIVITY? It’s an adaptation of Langston Hughes’ play; Kasi Lemmons wrote and directed the film. It’s a retelling of the Nativity story through a moral parable of this family and this little boy looking for answers as to why his family is the way that it is. He meets various characters on his journey and I’m one of those characters. I play, Maria, in the film and she comes from a low income family. She lives in Harlem (NY) with her boyfriend, Joe, and she recently dropped out of high school and is pregnant. Joe and Maria are dealing with the repercussions of their choices and the harsh realities of what it means to be teen parents. When Langston (played by Jacob Latimore) meets me, he superimposes Maria with the Virgin Mary and connects with her. It’s a wonderful story that will be in theaters on Thanksgiving Day (2013). Tell us a little bit about the process of landing that role. What did you have to go through to get this role? It’s really funny because it was so organic, but (still) a very long process. I’ve actually known Kasi Lemmons since I was 4 years old, and I got to stay with her from time to time (when I got a little older). She was very sensitive to me as a child because I was going through a very hard time with my father who was very sick with cancer. Throughout the years we kept in touch and in this industry people move a lot so, I didn’t see her that often.


‘BLACK NATIVITY’ (in theaters Nov. 27th)

BLACK NATIVITY DIRECTOR: Kasi Lemmons is an actor, turned award-winning filmmaker. Known best for her work on the critcally-acclaimed film, Eves Bayou, which was her directorial debut, Kasi Lemmons is the mastermind who worked to bring Langston Hughes’ play, Black Nativity, to the big screen.



African-American Women With Oscar Credits Here is a list of some of the black women who have won, or been nominated, for an Academy Award for their outstanding performances in major motion pictures.

HATTIE MCDANIEL (1st African-American to ever win)

Not only was she the first black female to win an Academy Award, Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to ever win an Oscar. Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1895 to former slaves, McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Understanding how to deal with rejection is really a lifestyle of its own.” -


Like Hattie McDaniel, Halle Berry was also a first for black women at the Oscars; becoming the first African-American woman to win for “Best Actress in a Leading Role”. From Bond Girl to Catwoman, Halle Berry will always be one of the most revered actresses to ever hit the big screen.


Grace Gibson on making it in showbusiness

When Mo’nique appeared in the Oscar winning film, “Precious,” audiences immediately knew she was going to win an Academy Award. This “Queen of Comedy” not only proved she was funny, through “Precious” she proved she had real star power.


Undoubtedly, Whoopi Goldbert is one of the most recognizable African-American women on the planet. Goldberg was the second black female actor in the history of the Academy Awards to win an Oscar. She’s also the first black person to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony, & Emmy. James Earl Jones is the only other black person to do so.

I moved to Harlem and was dancing at Harlem School of the Arts and (attending) Columbia University. Within the first year that I moved to Harlem, Kasi and I bumped into each other in the supermarket and we exchanged numbers. Since we have all these mutual friends, they invited me over one night and told me to bring my guitar. I played a few songs that (Kasi) heard me play when I was younger, and she said, “I have this role and I can’t imagine anyone else but you in it. I have to do a presentation at Fox and I would love it if you’d be involved in helping me organize it.” So, we shot a short music video within a few hours on a Saturday morning and pitched it to Fox. They responded positively to it and asked me to audition. That was 2 years ago. I auditioned multiple times and sent in a bunch of tapes. Last year around this time, I got a phone call from Nancy Utley at Fox Searchlight saying she was ready to negotiate my deal. It seemed so surreal that it was happening because, it had been going on for over 2 years. But, that’s how it all happened. That’s proof right there that this is something you were meant to do. It’s really crazy! Having someone like Kasi Lemmons say that she didn’t want anyone else to do this role, and she convinced the studio that I was meant for it? This is my debut for everything. It’s my first professional experience. I’m so blessed to be in such a warm environment with greats like Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Kasi Lemmons. They were very supportive and very warm. I’m so grateful. iae

JENNIFER HUDSON (See her in ‘Black Nativity’)

After being told by Simon Cowell on American Idol that she was too overweight to be a pop star, Jennifer Hudson did the unbelievable; she won an Oscar for singing in a movie. Eat that Simon Cowell! Jennifer can be seen in the box office film, “Black Nativity”, alongside Angela Bassett (see below).


In 2011, Octavia Spencer became only the 5th African-American actress to win the Academy Award for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role”. Ironically, Octavia got her start working as an intern when she was just 16yrs old, on the set of “The Long Walk Home,” which starred fellow Oscar-winner, Whoopi Goldberg.


In 1954, Dorothy Dandridge became the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Actress”. One of the most beautiful and talented black women to ever grace the silver screen, Dandridge was one of the first African-American’s to ever do a studio deal with a major film company.


Not only is Oprah Winfrey the richest African-American woman in the world, she’s also arguably the most recognizable (in comparison to First Lady, Michelle Obama). Oprah is also an Academy Award nominated actress, thanks to her epic portrayal of Ms. Sofia in the 1985 hit film, “The Color Purple” (which starred Whoopi Goldberg).


They say nobody ever remembers who was second...well, we’re proving “they” wrong today! Ethel Waters was the second black person to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, thanks to her portrayal of ‘Mrs. Dicey Johnson’ in the 1949 film, “Pinky”.

ANGELA BASSETT (See her in ‘Black Nativity’)

In 1993, Angela Bassett became the first black female graduate of Yale University to be nominated for an Oscar, thanks to her incredible on-screen portrayal of legendary singer, Tina Turner. You can see Bassett alongside Oscar-winner, Forest Whitaker. Source:

NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment



HUNGER GAMES BOX OFFICE FACT: As of this issue of I Am Entertainment, this movie is ranked #9 on the “Top Single Day Grosses” for opening day at the box office, bringing in $67.3 million. The film’s opening weekend gross hit $152.5 million.


is BRUTUS in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in theaters November 22nd

Entertainment Entertainment | NOV-DEC | NOV-DEC ‘13 ‘13 21 21I AMI AM

How did you get your start in acting? I got my start in theater in New York City doing off-Broadway and Blackbox Theater. At that time, it was about learning as much of the acting craft as I could; taking it all in and fine-tuning those skills. I would perform in front of 10 people if that was the opportunity presented to me. The number of people in the audience didn’t matter, it was all about the craft. Then, I got a call for Woody Allen’s movie “Celebrity”, and that was my first gig. When you first got started, did you feel the need to relocate to LA, or did you stay in NYC? To my good fortune, I was in my mid to late 20’s, so I got a late start in acting. At that time, I had already been in the corporate world as an advertising and brand executive on Madison Avenue. I realized that being an ad executive wasn’t really something that I wanted to do so, a friend of mine suggested I take an acting class. At first I was like, “What? I thought you had to go to school for that and then go to LA.” He was like, “No, you just have to find a good acting class and check it out. I think you would do really good.” So, I did my due diligence and found the right classes for me, and I found a great mentor. It felt a lot like sports. I grew up an athlete so, the competition felt like stepping into a batters box where it’s you against the pitcher. The lights in the stadium are on and it’s time to perform and compete. I felt those same things with acting and it became real for me. I dove in and studied as much as I could, taking night classes after work for a year.

Eventually, I got fired from my job, and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. (laughs) I never looked back from that point on. Fortunately, I started working right out of the gate. After booking the role in Woody Allen’s movie, I started working on all the episodics that were filming in New York. I was working pretty regularly doing independent films in New York when, that same friend who told me to get into acting told me I should think about moving to LA. I was like, “LA? That’s crazy talk.” But, I did end up moving to LA, and that was 15 years ago. How did The Hunger Games, Brutus, role come about? I was in the gym around 1 o’clock in the afternoon and my phone rang. I don’t answer my phone when I’m in the gym, unless it’s my agent so, I picked up and he said, “I have an audition for you. It’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” I was like, “That’s kind of a big movie, right?” He said, “Yeah! It’s today, in 2 hours. Can you make it?” It was the day of the audition and I had less than 2 hours to prepare for it but, I was like, “Absolutely! I’ll be there, just send me the info.” I raced home and did as much research as I could. I knew about the first “Hunger Games” movie, and it was a huge success so, I dove in and did as much research as I could about the story, and my character “Brutus”. I auditioned, and then about a week later I get a call that they (casting and production) were narrowing it down to a few choices and I was one



ith a resume dating back to the late 90’s, Bruno Gunn is no rookie to showbusiness. With recent roles on shows like ‘Sons of Anarchy’ & ‘True Blood’, Gunn steps onto the big screen to show the world his chops this 2013 holiday season. Here, he shares how this career breaking role came about.

DID YOU KNOW: Between September 2008 and February 2010, The Hunger Games book sold 800,000 copies • Author Suzanne Collins co-wrote and co-produced the first Hunger Games movie.


“To be really good at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours.” - Bruno

Gunn on acting

of them. I was like, “Wow, that’s great!” But, you learn to never get your hopes up too high in this business. You go in, give your performance, and you leave it there; you can’t hang onto it. But, with this particular call, I have to admit that I kind of hung onto it a little bit. (laughs) So, another week passed and my fiancé drops me off at the the airport for a flight to Italy to visit with my family for a holiday; my parents are from Italy. I was in Toronto about to make a connecting flight and had only 45 minutes to get there when my phone rings. My agent asked what I was doing and I told him I was trying to catch this connecting flight. He said, “That’s not the only thing you’re catching, because you’re also (The Hunger Games) Catching Fire’s, Brutus.” I stood there in the middle of the Toronto airport and dropped my bags. I asked him to say that again, and he repeats himself, and I lost it. Here I am on a plane for 9 hours with this life changing news and I’m not able to share it with anyone. (laughs) But, in this film, my character is ‘Brutus’. He’s a returning victor to the arena, so he’s a fierce competitor and a warrior. He’s from ‘District 2’, which is one of the wealthier districts, so he has been groomed for this fight in the arena. How strenuous was it for you training for these types of roles? I’ve always been an athlete so, physical fitness has always been important to me. When the Hunger Games came along, I definitely amped it up. I brought in my trainer, Drew Logan, from Los Angeles and we made some changes to my nutrition and workout. I wanted to bring a real big presence to this role. It wasn’t just about size, I wanted a stronger and bigger Brutus. We really went at it and killed the gym. Talk a little bit about the Vatican Tapes and a little bit about your role? “Vatican Tapes” is a Thriller/Horror movie. I had the great privilege of working with Mark Neveldine from the “Ghost Rider” movies and “Crank”. He’s such a freaking visual genius. He sets these shots up and you’re baffled as to how it’s going to work, but it does. He’s super talented, and we have a great cast of people. I’m very excited about that (movie). What advice could you give to actors to better prepare themselves? There’s that old saying that (goes), “To be really good at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours.” You have to constantly be working on your craft. If that means picking up the scene from Shakespeare and doing it in your house for a half-hour every day, then do that if you can’t afford a class. There are people out there who are super talented who are not working. The competition is fierce, it’s a competitive (business). You’ve got to have thick skin (also), and you can’t make it about what (decision makers) say. Be your own gauge! The truth is, our inner voice is the honest voice, and you will hear yourself say, “I could have done more,” or “I did everything I possibly could.” Once the audition is done, you have to leave it all in the room. Prepare, do the work, and get in that room and leave it all there, so when you walk out (of an audition) you know that you did everything you could. iae

Did you know that Josh Hutcherson, who plays the role of ‘Peeta’ in the Hunger Games movies read the entire book trilogy in five days to prepare for his role in the films. Now, that’s dedication. As most of us know, Liam Hemsworth is the younger brother of Chris Hemsworth (Thor). But, what you may not know is that big brother Chris told Liam he needed to lose weight to play the role of Gale. Being on the Hunger Games set can be dangerous. Jennifer Lawrence, actually knocked Josh Hutcherson out and gave the poor guy a concussion after she accidentally kicked him in the head while trying to kick over his head. Can you say, hazard pay? Jeffrey Wright who plays the role of ‘Beetee’ is by far one of the most underappreciated actors in Hollywood today. His resume the dates back to 1990 and he has appeared in roles on over 50 films and TV shows, including 10 episodes of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ this year (2013). 3 YEAR STAR: Sam Claflin made his acting debut in 2010 in the UK miniseries, “The Pillars of the Earth” which aired on Starz in the US. By the time 2011 hit, Sam found himself in a lead role in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and in 2012 - “Snow White & the Huntsman”. Sources: I Am Entertainment, Mary Reyes of NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment


Will Decker

Tim Scott


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13


Few people will risk their lives to help others like, Will Decker & Tim Scott of the hit reality TV series, “Travel The Road”. To these guys, life is nothing without extreme missions. In this exclusive interview with Tim, we learn that all reality shows are not created equal.


Whose idea was it to do the reality TV show, Travel the Road? William and I first went out overseas in 1998 to do missions and we didn’t take a video camera with us at all; we just documented everything on stills. We only had about $7,000 and we travelled to 25 different countries around the world before coming back to the U.S. in 1999. During the 11 months that we were back in the US, we knew we had to get back out there into these remote areas to share the gospel with people. We wanted to be able to get more people involved but, when we tried to share the stories from our missions work people would always say, “Well, that’s nice.” They couldn’t see it or know the stories of what took place without actually experiencing it so, they weren’t nearly as interested. When we went out on our next journey, which was about 18 months (2000-2001), we took a video camera with us to document our experiences; we didn’t think it would be a TV series or anything. We just thought we would go out and document our experience and share it on the web. Once we got back to the states, we realized that we had some great footage so, we decided to put something together and present it to TBN. We presented our pilot episode to them in 2002 and they liked it. They said it was a great concept and the rest is history. Did you ever think about giving up during the taping of the series where things got very dangerous in war torn countries like, Darfur? Actually, that’s when we’re most alive. Will and I love going out on missions. Even when we’re back in production, we’re looking forward to getting back out overseas. That’s one of the things we wanted to present on “Travel The Road”. We wanted to show that missions isn’t what most people have envisioned in their minds. They think you’re going to suffer if you go into ministry work overseas, or if you’re in difficult countries and you’re eating strange foods. We wanted to present it from our perspective and show people how indigenous life is truly living life, for us. We’re not suffering; we really enjoy it. The series reaches a board skope of people that may not be interested in

missions overseas, but it does get them to be more active in their faith at home. They may say, “If these guys can go intp other countries, there’s no reason why I can’t preach the gospel at work or at school or with a friend.” When you’re in tents with lions circling it, or you’re in areas where human sacrifices take place, does fear ever override missions? For us, it’s a very unique calling. Believe it or not, when we’re in countries like Somalia and Afghanistan, or we’re experiencing areas where human sacrifices happen, we feel very much at peace because, we know God’s got our backs. We also highlight on the series when we feel like we should have done something other than what God is telling us. Especially in Magnolia when we were hijacked and kidnapped. We wanted to highlight that to show people that you need to listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to you on the inside. It’s important when you’re going into dangerous areas. A lot of these dangerous areas we feel completely at peace in because we know God has us there for a reason. With Magnolia, for example, we know it’s dangerous and we had friends who were shot while we were there, but we still felt at peace and we knew that we were okay and we were going to be protected. When we go out there and preach the gospel, our faith tells us that if God is for us who can be against us. We just go out there and trust that great things are going to happen. When it comes to producing a show like this, what goes into planning these trips and how do you fund it all? The world news is our want ads. If there’s a place that’s in trouble or it’s a place that’s a dangerous region and nobody is going in there to share the gospel, that’s where we’re going to go. Or, if there’s a remote tribe that we’re reading about in National Geographic or something that we might hear about while overseas, those are the places we want to go into. Basically, our specific and unique mission that God has put in our hearts is to go out to the people who have never heard the gospel. As for planning of the show, the biggest part for us is that we want a high quality produc-

tion that doesn’t sacrifice the name of Jesus, or the dynamics of being bold about the gospel. In certain Christian productions, it’s either poorly produced and a lot of gospel, or better production with less of the gospel. We wanted to bridge the gap between the two. Even people who don’t know the Lord are going to be fascinated by it. Being able to see all of these interesting lands and experiences is really the production side of things. As I mentioned earlier, when we first started out everything was funded on our own. We sold what little we had and no matter how much we made, whether it was $3,000 or $7,000, we were going to go out there and preach the gospel. That’s the mindset that we really want to instill in future missionaries. We don’t want that blockade of money to stop us because, many times people will have a financial blockade in their life and they’ll say, “I don’t know if I can do it. I’ll just wait until God gives me the money to do it and then I’ll do it.” That type of mindset will never get you out into missions. You have to take faith and say, “Hey, I’m going to do this regardless and this is the plan I’m setting in motion.” If there’s one thing that you want people to get out of Travel the Road, what is that? Obviously, we want them to see faith in action but, we also want people to see that it’s worth it when we trek deep into the hills of Magnolia and meet a young boy who heard the gospel message and was given a small pamphlet a long time ago, and he ends up believing in the Lord. Then, he tells his father that Jesus is true and that one day He will come again, and then Will and I show up at their tee-pee home in the peaks of Siberia to share the gospel with them and it becomes a real witness to them. We really want to show these great and fantastic stories of God moving and working overseas. We also want to show that there is more to life than what we’ve been told in society in the U.S. We’re taught to generate wealth to no end and what we want to show people is that there is more to life than just living to gain wealth. iae NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment


Tech Talk FIXING DAMAGED AUDIO iZotope RX3 for Film/TV & Music By Shaine Freeman

Ever been on the set of a movie or TV show and heard, “Quiet on the set...”? Or, have you ever spent hours working in a small recording studio laying down music tracks only to find out later that you missed a bad audio take? Most If you make a living in film, music, or some other facet of entertainment or media where getting clean audio recorded is key to the success of your projects, then you’ll want to add iZotope’s new RX3 audio repair suite to your software stable. As a longtime user of iZotope’s RX™ line, I can vouch for its ability to save damaged audio files, which has - in many cases - saved me both time and money. What I like most about this cutting edge software by iZotope is the fact that it operates as a standalone interface, as well as a plugin for most DAWs, and it is very affordable at just $299 (retail). Here, I’d like to point out some of the software’s key features to help you better understand what this remarkable product can do for you. Pictured: Screenshots from an audio clip I recently worked on.


Imagine this: you’ve spent hours trying to get the perfect take for your project, only to find that in the editing/mixing phase of it all, you’ve got some clipped audio. Now, imagine this: you open up the WAV file in iZotope RX3 and run it through the “Declip” module and the audio clipping is gone. From my own experiences, this tool has declipped about 90% of the audio I’ve had to run through it. You can hear a sample at


If your audio has clicks and crackles like the ones you’d hear when playing a vinyl record, and you want to remove these annoying sounds, the Declick and Decrackle module in the RX3 tool set does exactly what it says. When you import your audio into this handle little module, you have a number of options available. Under the “Declick” tab you have the ability to adjust the algorithms, the processing sensitivity, as well as the click type. While the “Decrackle” tab allows you to adjust the sound quality, amplitude skew, and the strength of the processing to tune down the crackling issues you’re having. There’s also an “Interpolate” function that allows you to dig a little deeper into hard to fix clicks that the automatic processing from the module’s pull down menu doesn’t fix for you.


This is another great module included with the RX3’s toolset. This one is key when you have a low frequency hums and buzzes you want to remove from an audio clip. There are several preset options available in the pull down menu that you can start with, and from there you can adjust the high and low pass filters, frequency levels, harmonics, and even adjust the phase filters. This comes in handy when you’re recording audio outdoors or mic’ing a guitar amp. I’ve even used it to remove the rumbles from cars driving by outside of a recording session in a home studio facing a busy street. This is a must have.


The Denoise module allows you to remove or reduce hissing, tonal noise, rumbling noise and other unwanted sounds that can take away from the quality of your audio. With a number of options available, this is another great way to get rid of ambient issues.


Spectral Repair is a very useful tool that comes in handy on film and music projects on a tight budget. This is a great tool that features four different modes for various types of repairs. The “Attenuate” function is my favorite under this particular module because it can help you with getting rid of background noise from audio that was recorded at a live music event, or even a recorded conversation in a movie scene shot in a coffee shop. The cool thing about the Attenuate function is that you can pinpoint and remove a background sound that you thought would not be possible to remove without re-recording the audio. I can completely geek out on you and break down every single function, but I don’t have the space here.

If you own this software, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it. Feel free to write me at using the subject line “Audio Technology iZotope RX3”.


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13


4 Must Reads For Music Professionals These four must reads are from Hal Leonard Books. Whether you’re already a full-time music industry professional, or aspiring to get there, these books will help you expand your knowledge of the industry. From audio engineering to running a record label, these books cover nearly ever facet of the music business and are great resources to have if you want to succeed in music today. Reviews of these titles are available at our website, www. in the “BOOKS” section of the site..

TECHNIQUE In this book, veteran, award-winning audio engineer, Bruce Swedien shares some of his techniques for getting charttopping sounds from your drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals, strings, and other key instruments. There’s also a DVD that accompanies the book. On it, Bruce dives deeper into the steps he takes to put his award-winning signature sound on the mixes he crafts.

FINDING YOUR FUTURE This is a great career guide for those who want to work in music but don’t necessarily know what they want to do in the business. The author, Michael Redman, tells you want each job title in the music business is about and what kind of person fits best for that particular job. He even shares the potential earnings and challenges of various music careers.

MAKING A LIVING IN STUDIOS This book is perfect for the independent studio engineer, live sound operator, broadcast technician, postproduction specialist, or audio engineering student whose looking to work in today’s music industry. Author/Engineer, Dave Hampton, provides some very useful tips and advice on how to earn a living as an audio engineer in a world of home studios.

GREAT CAREERS FOR YOU Another great book on the various jobs available to anyone who wants to work in the music business. This book comes with a DVD-Rom that features interviews with top industry executives and talent who share their expert knowledge on how to be successful in the careers in which they work. This book even tells you want you can do while you’re in school to prepare for entering the biz.




What was that first big opportunity with music? I started in 1978 as a professional musician and I went to school to learn orchestration. I was dabbling in music doing demos and playing keyboards and doing arrangements for people on tours. I ended up getting a call from Tito Nieves in 1987 and he wanted me to be involved in his first solo album as an arranger, and that was my first big break. It was a fluke call because I didn’t even know he knew who I was. He said that he heard I was doing some good stuff and he was looking for a new guy to be involved in his new record. The track that I arranged became a big hit and that started my career as a producer; and I wasn’t even looking to be a producer. What was the first lesson you learned from the business side of music? The minute you start having success your friends become your enemies. The guys who were cool with you when you weren’t making any money all of a sudden start hating you. That was my first lesson. You really have to be thick skinned because no one is really happy for you, other than the fans who are buying the music you’re making. In the industry, it’s tough to find friends. Over the years, you’ve worked with so many successful artists like Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera. What advice could you give to those who are pursuing a career in record production


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13


Please tell us where you’re from and what got you interested in doing music? I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem, in New York City. I started in music around the age of 9 years old and it was from listening to my parents’ Latin music from back in the day; artists like Tito Puente. In the streets, I was listening to AfricanAmerican music so, I was living between both worlds which shapped my desire to do (music). I didn’t know that I wanted to be a musician, but I had a strong love of music at that time.


and they don’t know how to get themselves out of just thinking about the business and money? My first rule of thumb is, don’t worry about the business. When you start worrying about the business it’s starts to taint your decisions in the studio. You’ve really got to be more concerned with giving the consumer what they want to hear and putting good music out there. With the business, you’re going to learn as you go. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to get screwed over by somebody; that’s inevitable. But, as you go, you’ll learn how to maintain a balance between dealing with the challenges of the business and still being creative. You can’t get caught up in the business because, I’ll say it again, you’re going to get screwed over at some point; everybody does and there’s no way to prepare for it. Just learn from it and make better decisions as you keep going forward. If you start thinking that everything has to be about business, it will start tainting your music. This business is really about making great music so, never lose focus of that because, it’s really all that matters in the end. You’ve won multiple of GRAMMY’s, and a lot of artists and producers goals are to win a GRAMMY. What I’ve noticed is that, when the focus is only on winning an award many producers start to follow the trends in music instead of

being themselves and creating music for the consumer. Should they even be focused on winning GRAMMY’s? It’s a fatal flaw to start doing stuff like that. I started producing successfully in 1988 but, I didn’t get my first nomination until 2001, 2002. It was frustrating, but I kept producing and creating, and it wasn’t until I stopped worrying about the exterior stuff that you can’t control is when I started getting nominated for records that I never would have expected to get nominated for. Ironically, you might start getting nominated and winning awards for your past work, not the music you’re currently doing. What I’m noticing now is that I’m winning awards just on reputation because of my previous work. All those years I was making hits and nobody took notice, now people are remembering those records. If you focus on making great music, you’ll start to win awards on reputation and credibility. When you focus on putting out good stuff, you may not win immediately, but down the road I guarantee you if you keep doing it, it’s going to pay off. Focus on making great music. For a new producer, what is the first step he/ she should take on establishing themselves in this business? These days it’s so much easier to get stuff done. Go in the studio or get your home studio going, get stuff recorded, get it copyrighted - if they’re

your songs - and put the stuff up on YouTube and Soundcloud. Then, send producers like me the link to your work. Keep creating, keep sending stuff out, and keep making yourself known to others and sooner or later, if it’s good enough somebody is going to call you. Talk a little bit about your company, Top Stop Music, and some of your artists? We initially started the label for tropical music. We have a GRAMMY with Luis Enriquez in Salsa and then, we have Prince Royce. We have, Leslie Grace, who is the youngest female to hit #1 on the Latin Billboard Charts. We’ve got a couple of Salsa giants and we’re going to be signing a couple of Urban artists. When Gregory Elias and I started the company, we wanted to create a kind of Latin version of Interscope. We wanted quality artists with good songs. So our focus is getting great songwriters and artists to work together; put it out for consumers, and hope it sells. If it’s not ready to be released then we don’t put it out. We’re focused on putting out good material, whether it’s Salsa or Urban music. Whatever it is, as long as it deserves to be heard, we’re going to give them a shot. iae Connect with Sergion online at:


and unify because there’s so much power in unity and there’s so much that we can accomplish when we are locked in together. That’s the theme that circulates throughout this whole album. This connects with everybody because everyone has sat down across the table that they’ve disagreed with and we have two choices in that. We can allow disagreement to separate us and push us a part or we can set our differences aside and unite around love and united around truth. Ultimately that’s what we all crave and if we can get to that place where our walls are down then something great can happen.

Is Back With Their Sophomore Album, and They’ve Got That Fire... In this exclusive feature, we spoke with the band’s front man, Tauren Wells, about the self-titled album, touring, and more. What inspired you to get involved with music? One of the biggest things that drove me toward music is that it’s such a universal language. I grew up in musical family and my dad is a musician. He exposed me to so much great music. It became a part of my life from a very early age and it felt like the natural thing to do. I never really decided that this was what I wanted to do so, I didn’t really pursue being an artist. It just happened. This sophomore album is crazy! What is your overall mission and purpose for the overall selftitled album? We believe we are called to build bridges and not walls. If we’re honest, we can take a look at our lives and see that the things that we’re afraid of and the things that we fear, we make those into the bricks to build walls that isolate us. They isolate us from meaningful relationships; isolate us from meaningful experiences because we’re afraid. No good thing really happens in isolation. We were created to be in community and to have meaningful connections with people. So it’s the book ends on this album and we’re talking about tearing down walls, tearing down walls of religion, walls of racism, all these different things that have put us in different categories away from each other. What we want to do is build bridges


I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Your music is incredible! It reminds me of a lot of the music that I grew up on like Sting, Michael Jackson. Thanks! I think don’t people realize is that we have fans that are 14 and 15 coming out to shows and their parents brought them for their birthday or whatever but they came to a Royal Tailor show. They brought their kids to see their kid’s favorite band but what we’re realizing is after the show the parents are coming up to us going, “I love you guys! I didn’t even know and my kids kept talking about you guys and I totally get it now.” We cover September in our set, which most of the adults that come to our show that’s their hay day. We are connecting with multiple generations and I think that’s an awesome, powerful thing. There’s a massive appeal to this kind of music that we do. Where is the fine line between fame and faith and how do you harness the hype? I know you are a big proponent of speaking out against pop culture and how it’s affecting people’s lives. I think the biggest thing is and this can be seen from either side. The Bible says the gifts of God are without repentance. So once God gifts you to



Didn’t you guys form in college, right? How did you guys get signed to Provident/Sony? We met in college and we started touring right out of school and we did about 300 dates in 2 years. We ended up playing at Leeland Mooring’s parent’s church and he was signed to the label that we’re now signed to. He brought us to Nashville and paid for our hotel rooms and took us around town and introduced us to a bunch of people. One of the things that the label did was brought us to one of their listening party for one of their signed artists and that’s when we met Jason MacArthur who is an A&R at the label. Over the course of the next several months we ended up getting signed to Provident/Sony and that was 3 years ago. A lot has happened since them and we’re enjoying the journey.


ROYAL TAILOR VIDEOS TO SEE do something, He’s not just going to take that gift away. Once He gives a good thing He entrust you with what belongs to Him and we decie what we do with that. What everything rises and falls on for Royal Tailor is calling. We didn’t start when we were little kids wanting to be a band or be a household name or have our name in lights. I wasn’t even thinking like that, I was thinking I really love music. Then, the calling came into my life and God has gifted me with this to empower people and to encourage people and challenge them to do something with their gifts. That’s the line between faith and fame for me and I’m doing this because I’m called to do it not because it’s a dream, not because it’s some aspiration or that I want to be 28 sitting on $28 mil. I want to obey the call. I had a really cool opportunity recently, and there was a songwriter’s panel that I was able to be a part of and I was sitting next to Steven Curtis Chapman. He sang this song For The Sake of the Call and pretty much everyone in the room was singing it but I hadn’t ever heard it before because I grew up listening to Gospel and Pop music. It so resonated with me because in the middle of all of this it’s easy to chase your dreams and it’s easy to chase your aspirations and if we’re not careful those things will eclipse the calling. That song has solidified those things in my heart that it doesn’t matter how big Royal Tailor gets because this is all about Jesus. I think that other artists including mainstream artists, if they’re honest, they could get to that place because that’s what we’re all called to do. For most artists that come into the business they have these huge hopes and dreams and then they run into the business of music. What was that moment like for you guys and when did you realize that it wasn’t just about music? I’m living in the moment every day. [laughs] At the bottom of my list is businessman because I want to give everything away, I want to do everything for free, I want to just love on people. That’s why we hire people to do the business. There’s a balance there and it’s something I’m learning and I’ve only been doing this for 3 years and I’m still pretty green to it all. I think that the main for me is keeping Jesus in the center of the business because there’s easy to detach the two and your ministry is your ministry and your business is your business but the goal and the purpose of the gospel is to put Christ in the middle of all of it. There’s a way that I think God would have us do business and He would have us do it with excellence, with integrity, and to the best of our ability. That’s what I try to stay focused on and surrounding myself with people who has strengths where I have weaknesses. True humil-

ity isn’t pretending to have certain strengths it’s about being honest about your weaknesses and being confident in your strengths. From a business standpoint that’s where I’m at and I lean on people who are gifted to do business in the same way I’m gifted to do music. That’s how we make the biggest difference is by unifying our gifts around that. I recently remember you tweeting to Macklemore about you’re sorry for whoever hurt you in the church. Can you address what you meant by apologizing for the church? Our album is talking these very issues because people hurt people because we’re all imperfect. The second thing is religion hurts people because it’s a set of expectations that you get placed on you based on your performance. But Jesus already met the expectations so you are free to walk in what He performed on the cross. It’s not that you have to do all these things to get this, it’s He already done all of these things so you can have it all. I think that paradigm is critical to shift in culture and we see it happening in the church and in the arts. One thing that I’m really uncomfortable with is artists that make the churches shortcomings their platform for their artistry because they’re imperfect and the church is imperfect because we’re all just people and that’s why we all need grace and mercy. What I encourage students and people who listen to Royal Tailor to do is be mindful of the pop culture that you consume and that’s not just music that’s TV, movies, magazines, literature, fashion, everything. We have to mindful that there’s an agenda in everything to create space between us and Jesus. We have to think about the things we’re introducing ourselves to and not just be a mindless consumer of it. Then at the same time we have to appreciate great art. Macklemore is a dope artists, there’s no questioning that. So many artists have real talent and if you can write a song that the whole world can sing, you are talented. We have to disarm all of that and engage them on a level of humility and opening the door to relationships because it’s real easy to tweet something negative about someone when you think you’ll never be in the same room with them. But when you realize the point is to get in the same room with these people, it changes how you think and how you talk about others. It’s a lot but that’s where my head is about Pop culture. iae




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Get to know her before she becomes a household name. Who or what influenced you to get into music professionally? I was always into music as a kid, and my parents got me into piano lessons when I was four. I always wrote, and I started writing pop songs when I was about 12. My parents were always extremely encouraging. When I was thirteen, my dad and I went to the TAXI Road Rally in Los Angeles. There

I learned that my songwriting needed a lot of work, so I really tried to develop my writing. A couple years later, after I had written the first song that I really liked, I decided that being an artist was what I wanted to do. What’s the title of your latest release and what can people expect to hear? BM: My latest release is an EP called Patterns. It’s kind of a combination of genres in a way. Some songs are more pop, while another leans towards americana. When my dad and I were writing the songs, we wanted to write about things that would make people feel uplifted. With so many people releasing music through the internet, what has been the toughest part about getting your name out there? I would probably say that the toughest thing about getting my name out there is having patience. I really had to accept that becoming popular and wellknown is not an overnight thing for most people. Learning to be patient and to keep working hard is such an important thing. All I Want For Christmas Is…? This may sound like a cliché answer, but I really don’t need anything. I tend to frustrate my relatives because I usually tell them to surprise me with something. iae


Basketball isn’t all the great state of Indiana is known for; shall we never forget the fact that one of the most popular recording artists ever, Michael Jackson, was an Indiana-native. Not to mention Janet Jackson, John Mellencamp, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, David Lee Roth, and Axl Rose...all Indiana-born. And now, it looks like Briagha McTavish is prepping herself to join this elite group of musical geniuses.


DEFINING YOUR ROADMAP TO SUCCESS Maximizing Your Music Career Potential By Chandra Lynn, CEO & Principal Consultant of Glow Marketing, LLC ter doing some physical activity that puts you in an energized, positive state): 1. Think back to yourself as a child and recall any visions you had for your life. Write them out in as much detail as you can. What did you want to be when you grew up? Where did you want to live and in what kind of place? Did you want a romantic partnership and to become a parent? 2. Ask yourself, does your childhood vision match what you want from your adult view of life? If so, why? How does it serve your current needs? 3. If you determine the childhood vision does not serve you anymore, recognize that you need to replace it with a new adult vision based on how much you have grown. 4. To create a new vision, take some time to visualize how you can spend the rest of your life happy with what you have achieved. What do you need to be deeply fulfilled and utterly satisfied? 5. Connect this vision to a higher purpose. Why does this direction make you happy? Who does it serve? What does it tell you about who you are and what you’ve contributed? What do you want to be remembered for? Imagine singing in front of an arena full of adoring, screaming fans, and feeling the high that comes from being center stage. Then, imagine going from the stage to your own luxury tour bus and hearing nothing but the hum of wheels on the road and feeling severely lonely and unsatisfied with life. This happened to a friend of mine who called me after a sold-out show. Despite achieving “legendary rock star” status, he was still not satisfied with his life, even though others perceived it as the kind of success that dreams are made of. Why? For one thing, people define success differently. We may think he has it all, but those things didn’t fulfill his true inner desires and human needs. For many, success is achieving fame and fortune, but for some it’s simply getting through a single day without a drop of alcohol, while others may see success as contributing on a global level by headlining a benefit concert. The truth is that most people really don’t know what would make them deeply satisfied…even when they’ve achieved levels of success that they thought would be enough. As children, we define what we do and don’t want for our lives based on our role models and experiences while growing up. Every situation gets filed under “Yes, I want that” or “No, I don’t want that”,

which creates a subconscious road map for our lives. However, it is full of conflict because we can file multiple things that don’t work together in the same place. For example: my friend determined he wanted to be a touring musician and also wanted a wife and kids, placing him in a double-bind. While on the road, it was hard for him to find a suitable wife, but once he found a wife and had children he was challenged by the amount of touring that was required to be successful because it took him away from his family. By the time we are adults, its common to feel frustrated by all of the challenges in life, which often leads us to feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. If you feel this way now, it may seem like external circumstances are to blame, but consider the possibility that your conflicts are coming from your own “map”. This is good news because it means that although your current life conditions don’t sync with your map, you can change it. How? Change your life conditions or change your roadmap. My friend was able to do this successfully by deciding that creating a family and being present with them was more important than touring so he began composing and recording new material in a home studio. If you feel stuck with your current life conditions, change your roadmap with these steps (ideally af-

6. Consider any conflicts that may exist with your current life conditions, and determine which direction will give you a healthier and more successful end result. 7. Write out your new vision based on this new understanding, and be as specific as possible. After this, you will have a fairly clear vision, but you still need a clear roadmap. When you live by a subconscious road map, it’s like driving from California to New York with only a vague sense of how to get there and why you even wanted to go there in the first place. An effective roadmap involves an integrated plan that is broken down into seven core areas of your life: spirituality, physical body, emotions & meaning, relationships, time, work & career, and finances. To begin this process, expand your vision to include what you want to achieve in each of these areas; list out the actions you can take in each of the areas to realize your visions; set reasonable expectations for when to achieve them; and start taking action. You don’t have to live your life by default. There are a lot of things you can control to create the level of success that truly meets your needs. Aligning with your higher purpose (why you were created) and creating a healthy life vision and roadmap will send you down the path of living out your highest potential. iae NOV-DEC ‘13 | I AM Entertainment


Music Reviews

All Reviews By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment) essential elements that must comprise a great release in this genre, including: funky basslines, great guitar riffs and leads, a brass section that screams, fantastic keyboards, and strong vocal performances. Tracks like “Light Me Up (feat. Alana Bridgewater)” and “Cream #9” are teeming with life altering funk grooves that will get your head nodding and toes tapping. Reminiscent of great funk albums by The Parliament and Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, and my neigbor’s music who is formerly of Sly & The Family Stone. I believe a collaboration with Snoop Dogg is in order for Ron Littlejohn and The Funk Embassy. I’d love to hear this collaboration! Overall, I’d recommend getting online and checking these guys out if you’re a fan of great funk music...not the commercial crap you hear on the radio these days. Real music is an art, and this band possesses the art. Go support these guys.


Decibals Genre: Rock, Blues, Pop Album: Baby Steps Location: Mt. Sinai, New York The Como Brothers are back with another awesome album, this time titled “Baby Steps”. I can’t help but compare these guys to great rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers because the overall sound is a solid mix of rock, blues, and pop music backed by some of the cleanest vocal leads in the business. After listening to Baby Steps, I couldn’t help but put certain songs on repeat. Of the 12 songs on this album, my two favorite songs are “Gotta Be True” and “Numbed”. Gotta Be True is so funky, and the horn section adds great color to the production. Numbed is a great song and the music feels very John Mayer-ish. Both of these songs have great writing, and are vocally, musically, and creatively sound. Very nicely done by The Como Brothers. Although my two favorites are mentioned, I still enjoyed several other tracks that I feel add great character and boosts the overall quality of the project. Some of these include: “Straight Face”, “Late Nights”, “Make a Move”, and “Broken”. Each of these songs has a uniqueness to them that shows off The Como Brothers’ musical prowess and they’re overall chemistry as a family led band. Overall, Baby Steps is a great album by The Como Brothers and it’s just a matter of time before these guys explode into the mainstream.

Website: Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy (Funk/Soul/Blues) Album: Shining On Home: Montreal/Toronto, Canada



Hailing from the great cities of Montreal and Toronto, Ron Littlejohn and The Funk Embassy are a class act in funkdified soul music. The band’s latest release, Shining On, is a true testiment to their musical diversity and how in-tune they are to the family ties between funk, soul, and blues music. On this 8 track EP, we get a solid education on the

I AM Entertainment | NOV-DEC ‘13

Decibals Popkissed (Electropop) Album: It’s A Fine Day Home: Oslo, Norway. Pucker up and get ready to be Popkissed. Singer, Lill-Ann Blauenfeldt, and producer, Robert Solheim, comprise the Oslo duo that brings a trance-like sound that borders on electronic and retro pop music. Their latest release, ”It’s A Fine Day” is comprised of tunes reminiscent of great 80’s electronic pop artists/groups like Pet Shop Boys and the Eurythmics. Popkissed provides us with music that fuses passion inspired vocals and lyrics on top of retro synth and drum loops. Of the 11 songs on It’s A Fine Day, I thought “Saviour” really stood out. The production on this track is a definite mid-tempo club record that could crack the dance music charts with enough promotion and a music video. The transitions in the keyboards and bass clearly define the verses from the prechoruses and the choruses. I thought Robert did a great job with this track. Overall, Popkissed has potential. With a bit more development of their sound and vocal delivery, and a few tracks that are around the 110-120 bpm range, this group could really spark something for themselves in the U.S. I’d definitely like to hear more from this group as they continue to grow and produce new music.

Decibals Ria Reece Band (Blues/Soul/Jazz) Album: Selftitled Home: Montreal, Canada Another Montreal based Blues-Soul band that you should check out is The Ria Reece Band. The band’s latest self-titled 10 song release is a powerful display of musical cohesion. This album stands at the crossroads of Mississippi and Chicago blues music, blending elements

of jazz inspired female vocals reminiscent of Millie Jackson. By releasing a full LP, The Ria Reese Band not only goes against the conventional wisdom of today’s underground music scene where EP releases are the most cost effective way to test the market. Instead, this project tells us that Ria Reece and the boys are not just hoping to break through, they believe in their product enough to not just test the waters with a few songs. This project is a bold declaration that this crew of musicians have no plans of leaving the scene anytime soon. There are a number of great songs on The Ria Reece Band LP, but of them all my favorite has to be, “I Just Want To Make Love To You”. This particular song embodies the greatness of what it means to be a blues-soul band. From the awesome guitar chops and the walking basslines, to the pocket drums and Ria’s powerful singing voice, this band gives us a dose of that good ol’ downhome blues we’ve been craving, but aren’t getting a chance to enjoy in the “mainstream” marketplace. Overall, The Ria Reece Band and their self-titled LP can only be described as, “greatness”. If you enjoy the vocals of artists like Millie Jackson, or the late Amy Winhehouse, and the music of Stevie Ray Vaugh and BB King, then check ou this LP. But, don’t just listen to it if you like it and lets help keep great bands like this going.

Decibals MonaLisa Twins (60s Pop-Rock) Album: When We’re Together Home: UK MonaLisa Twins bring to us their latest release, “When We’re Together”; a throwback to the days when poodle-skirts and sock-hops of the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, just before the arrival of the Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin explosion in American music. Making a strong case for a genre longforgotten, MonaLisa Twins have made it a point to be different in hopes of bringing back a sound that has virtually no proven audience at the moment. But, it is this kind of boldness in music that has fueled the trends and progression of music over the past 50 years. Personally, “This Boy Is Mine” is a great reason why these girls deserve a shot at U.S. radio. The stagnant sounds of the current “mainstream” chart-toppers are all bland and lack creativity. With a beefier low-end that makes it a bit more competitive with today’s Top 40 radio hits, this song would explode into popularity; similar to Amy Winehouse’s music, which ushered in a short rebirth of the Motown sound. In addition to the music, the songwriting on This Boy Is Mine is well done. Also, the ‘Twins’ give a wonderful vocal performance that I won’t soon forget. Other great songs on this 11 song album include: “One More Time”, “I Wanna Kiss You” and the title track, “When We’re Together.” Each of these tracks make this an overall great buy.


Decibals Genre: Cinematic Rock, Pop-Rock Album: Afraid To Die Location: Sydney, AU How many reviews do we have to do before you guys out there realize these dudes are freaking incredible? Monks of Mellonwah is by far one of the best, most underrated unsigned bands in the world. All you have to do is listen to their latest EP release, “Afraid To Die”, and you’ll understand why I’m so sure of this bands ability to explode in the mainstream if given a shot. The title track, “Afraid To Die,” is like something out of an Iron Man movie scene, or some other top Marvel comic film. It doesn’t hurt that there’s an actual film composer producing the band’s music. From the vocals to the rock solid guitars, bass, and drums...MOM puts the icing on the cake for me, with this track. Go check this out. After listening to all four songs on MOM’s new EP, I still can’t believe these guys aren’t signed to a major record label and rocking stages around the world! Another great example of why these guys should be signed is the song “Downfall”. This is another one of those cinematic rock tracks that should be in video games, movies, and radio. The production and songwriting is all superior to most of the bands I see and hear at major music festivals in the U.S. Overall, Afraid To Die, is a Top 10 rated song and EP that should be bought/downloaded and kept in a vault someplace because I think that once these guys get in front of the right people, they’re going to be viewed as one of the best quarter-piece bands ever. Go buy it now so that I don’t have to say, “I told you so!” Website: Keyser Soze (Reggae/Soul) Album: The Remedy Home: Reno, NV


Keyser Soze is a six piece band that puts the “R” and the “S” in Reggae-Soul. On the Reno based band’s latest release, “The Remedy”, I am instantly reminded of the great sounds of artists like The Wailers. Despite the current climate in mainstream music, which seems to have set up roadblocks for great bands like Keyser Soze, audiences

everywhere still have shown an affinity for this particular sound. With a tour of North American planned for 2014, Keyser Soze is prepared to navigate their way to the forefront of the American music industry in the reggae genre. Kicking off the album, Keyser Soze sticks to a proven format set by their predecessors in the reggae genre and could easily become a “name” among fans globally. Thanks to songs like,“Dance With Me,” and their title track,“Remedy”, I really got into Keyser’s project. Anyone who knows good reggae music knows that you can’t do it well without an amazing bassist, a great keyboardist, and a solid drummer, all of which this band has. In addition to these key elements, every song offers powerful lead vocals and a nice brass section. Other songs that make this most recent release by Keyser Soze a winner include tracks like: “Catch Your Breath”, “Soul Ska”, “Happy Ending” and “Harvest Dub”. Each of these tracks validates everything I’m saying and gives clear justification for the perfect score in this review. I especially enjoyed the instrumental tracks - Happy Ending and Harvest Dub - that I mentioned above because, they showcase the bands musical prowess and ability to hold your attention without vocals. Great music! If you’re a fan of Reggae music, you should check these guys out because they’re an extremely talented band that is lots of fun to listen to. Buy their music if you like it, you’ll be supporting great music and keeping these guys inspired so they’ll keep it going.

Decibals Kevin Jenkins (R&B/Blues) Album: Step Inside Home: Brooklyn “Step Inside” is the latest release by Brooklyn-based songwriter/singer, Kevin James, who has spent time as a side man for Grammy winning and hitmaking artists like: Cyndi Lauper, Maxwell, Enrique Iglesias, Taylor Dayne, Roberta Flack and now, blues diva, Shemekia Copeland. One listen to this album, and you’ll understand why so many great artists have tapped Kevin for his amazing voice. At times, it felt like I was listening to Seal. Step Inside gives Jenkins an opportunity to showcase his lead vocal and songwriting skills, which he does a great job of. With so much music being released these days, it can be hard to cut through the mire of poorly produced albums being shoved down our throats, but Step Inside is not one of those projects. Great songs like “Flying”, “Take This Ride (feat. Shemekia Copeland), and “So High” are all great examples of why Kevin James got such a great score in this review. Each song breathes new life into the R&B/Soul genre and gives us a refreshing dose of what’s missing in mainstream radio. The general public wants to ear great artists like Kevin James because, we actually enjoy real music like

what Kevin’s giving us on this release. Step Inside is a smooth and easy listening album that I believe will be enjoyed by fans of artists like Seal or Bill Withers. Kevin Jenkins’ crisp, powerful, yet laid back vocal talents are easy to enjoy and sing along with, making it an R&B/Soul fan’s dream. Check this one out and buy it. If you’re in NYC, catch a Kevin James show and support this great artist.

Decibals Noreen Braun (Roots Rock) Album: Conventus The Eye of... Home: Vancouver Noreen Braun’s latest release, “Conventus They Eye of the Heart”, is a soulful yet, eclectic collage of musical art. The nicely composed release brings together 12 songs that range from roots-rock to reggae-soul; even giving us a little funk and jazz in the process. Noreen’s voice has a rich tone the gives off an old school soul-singer’s vibe, with a hint of Joni Mitchell’s power. My favorite song on ‘Conventus...’ has to be “How Would We Know.” I listened to this song 4 times before moving on. That reggae-soul/island sound mixed with great songwriting and Noreen’s sweet vocal make for one helluva song. This particular track offers so much to the listener who appreciates real music. There’s no lack of creativity or overly produced vocal landscape here, just Noreen’s great vocal performance and awesome band. This is music at it’s best... what a great song! Other songs I really enjoyed by on this album include: “No More Reprise”, “99%”, and “The Perfect Love Affair”. Each of these tracks add variety, but the first two I just listed have that funky bass, harmonica, and rhythm guitars that create a bed of sounds that compliment Noreen’s vocal well. These songs remind us of what real music sounds like when we turn off the crap on the radio. Overall, Noreen Braun’s “Conventus...” brings forth a collection of some of the most creative and warm songs available in the underground music scene. I recommend this for true lovers of music...not radio fans.

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I Am Entertainment - NOV/DEC 2013, Iss. #25  

DIY Network Host/Designer, Alison Victoria, graces the cover of our award-winning magazine's 3rd Annual Writers & Producers issue (NOV/DEC 2...

I Am Entertainment - NOV/DEC 2013, Iss. #25  

DIY Network Host/Designer, Alison Victoria, graces the cover of our award-winning magazine's 3rd Annual Writers & Producers issue (NOV/DEC 2...