2 Degrees of Alie is a podcast about peoples' stories of breaking into Hollywood.

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Writer/Director Sanjeev Sirpal Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with writer/director Sanjeev Sirpal ("Screw Cupid," "iHeart," "Lovepocalypse,"). You can currently find one of his films, "Screw Cupid," on Sundance, IFC and Amazon. We talk about everything from writing about dirty cops to surviving working at an agency to directing an independent feature.

SANJEEV SIRPAL'S BIO

Sanjeev Sirpal, like 90 percent of all first generation Indian-Americans, was born near Chicago, IL and was immediately accepted into med-school. The details of his upbringing in sunny South Florida are captivating and poetic and were adapted into a series of successful films starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

Since watching Back To The Future at an early age, Sanjeev always knew that he wanted to make movies, and drive a Delorean, and he has been obsessed with them (movies that is, Deloreans turn like they're underwater) ever since. He cannot ever remember where he parked but he can quote Spaceballs from start to finish. He broke up with a girlfriend on-site because she told him she didn't like The Matrix. The only movie he has ever cried at was Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. For some reason, when the ant was killed he lost it. It is still a touchy subject.

Sanjeev can discuss Roland Barthe's Third Meaning as it relates to cinema at length and at the same time, will always think that the word "poop" is funny.

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in literary journalism and a minor in disappointing his parents, Sanjeev took a job with the Associated Press covering the Cops and Courts beat for the Southeast (lots and lots of meth labs). Sanjeev figured he had two choices: Go on a cross-country series of daring adventures, righting wrongs and capturing the hearts of women everywhere, or move to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer. Due to his aversion to planning and a small bladder, he chose the latter.

Sanjeev's first film, SCREW CUPID, a romantic comedy Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times called "crisply written and full of wit," and ReelTalk dubbed "a winner," was made for less than Chris Evans' codpiece budget for THE AVENGERS and screened at the Delray Beach International Film Festival (AUDIENCE AWARD - BEST FEATURE), Florida Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival, and Seattle International Film Festival before being purchased by the Sundance Channel and IFC.

When he's not writing, Sanjeev enjoys revising his bio and elaborately setting up carefully controlled, extreme backgrounds to make his profile pictures look badass.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_43_Jeeves.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 3:07pm PDT
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Funny Or Die's Darryl Gudmundson Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this podcast, I have the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Darryl Gudmundson. If you've ever laughed while watching a video on Funny Or Die, you probably owe that laugh to Darryl who serves as the Director of Digital Programming for the comedy site. We talk about everything from having Michael Shannon read a sorority girl's letter to Cat Video Festivals to meeting Will Ferrell. 

DARRYL GUDMUNSON'S BIO

Darryl Gudmundson is the Director of Digital Programming at Funny Or Die, where he oversees and curates FunnyOrDie.com. He also assists in the production of anywhere from 25-50 videos a month and is also a contributing producer of Funny Or Die's digital magazine, The Occasional. He can't be president because he was born in Costa Rica, he is a graduate of Ithaca College, currently resides in Los Angeles, loves the internet, music, taking pictures and high fiving.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_42_Darryl_G.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 9:56am PDT
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"New Girl" Showrunner Dave Finkel Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with showrunner/writer/producer/actor Dave Finkel. Dave is a hilarious guy whose many TV credits include: "New Girl," "30 Rock," "Pinky And The Brain,"  "Animaniacs," "Just Shoot Me" and "United States Of Tara," just to name a few. We talk about everything from performing nude on stage to making the transition from animation to sitcoms to what goes into running a hit show like "New Girl."

DAVE FINKEL'S BIO

Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Dave Finkel is a native of Los Angeles, but after a series of aborted college tries, he ended up at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Experimental Theater Wing (from which he also dropped out).

After meandering around New York for several years, trying his hand at several things and just wasting everyone’s time and energy, he eventually dragged himself back to Los Angeles, hat in hand, where he made his way to the ACME Comedy Theater. There, he met his writing and producing partner, Brett Baer. Soon after, the pair began writing on Steven Spielberg’s animated programs “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and The Brain,” for which they received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination.

Finkel and Baer transitioned into primetime television, where they have written for a wide variety of shows, including “Just Shoot Me!,” “Happy Family” and “Norm.” In 2007, they won their first Emmy and Writers Guild Awards as co-executive producers on “30 Rock.” Most recently, Finkel served as writer and executive producer on “United States of Tara.”

Finkel currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Marni, and his two sons, Roscoe and Clyde. He still has yet to graduate. 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_40_Dave_Finkel.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Screenwriter/Producer/Director Daniel Petrie Jr. Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

You can find my podcast with Screenwriter/Producer/Director Daniel Petrie Jr. here.

In this episode, I have the honor of chatting with screenwriter/producer/director Daniel Petrie Jr. ("Beverly Hills Cop," "Big Easy," "Shoot To Kill," "Turner & Hooch," "About Cherry," "The 6th Day," "Dawn Patrol"). He's worked with actors such as Eddie Murphy, Tom Hanks, Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sidney Poitier. We talk about everything from starting out in the mailroom at ICM to how the script for "Beverly Hills Cop" was developed to what goes into directing an action scene with multiple helicopters.


DANIEL PETRIE JR.'S BIO

Screenwriter, producer and director Daniel Petrie, Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award for his first produced script, the box-office hit Beverly Hills Cop, starring Eddie Murphy. Next came Petrie’s original screenplay of the romantic thriller The Big Easy, starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin. Petrie then served as producer of the thriller Shoot to Kill, starring Sidney Poitier and Tom Berenger, and as executive producer of the comedy Turner & Hooch, starring Tom Hanks; Petrie co-wrote both films. Petrie also served as executive producer of The 6th Day, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2011, Petrie was executive producer, showrunner and co-creator of Combat Hospital, simulcast on Canada’s Global TV and ABC in the U.S. The 13 episode TV series, a coproduction of Canada’s Sienna Films and the U.K.’s Artists Studios, featured an ensemble cast headed by Elias Koteas, Michelle Borth, Luke Mably, Deborah Kara Unger, Terry Chen and Arnold Pinnock.

Petrie's directorial debut was the film Toy Soldiers, starring Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, and Louis Gossett, Jr., which he also co-wrote. Petrie also directed the HBO film Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and adapted and directed the TNT movie Framed, starring Rob Lowe and Sam Neill. Recently, Petrie wrapped principal photography on the indie feature Dawn Patrol starring Scott Eastwood, Jeff Fahey and Rita Wilson; the film, which Petrie directed and executive produced, is slated for a 2014 release.

In 2006, Petrie and producing partner Rick
Dugdale founded Enderby Entertainment, an
independent film, television and digital media
company with an old-fashioned emphasis on
storytelling, on the creative side, and
transparency, on the financial side. In addition
to financing and producing
Dawn Patrol, the
company arranged the financing and co-
produced writer/director Stephen Elliot’s film
About Cherry, starring James Franco and Heather Graham, which premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. Enderby’s thriller division, Tony-Seven Films, has also financed and produced five genre pictures: The Speak, Vile, 5 Souls, A Haunting at Silver Falls and No Tell Motel.

Petrie inherits a tradition of volunteer service to the motion picture and television industry from his parents: Petrie’s father was the late, Emmy-winning Canadian director and long time Directors Guild of America board member Daniel Petrie, Sr.; Petrie’s mother is the Emmy-winning television producer and long time Producers Guild of America board member Dorothea Petrie. Daniel Petrie, Jr. has an extensive history of service to the Writers Guild of America West, Inc., serving two terms each as President (1997-99 and 2004-2005) and as Vice President (1995-97 and 1999-2001). In 2013, Petrie was the recipient of the Writers Guild’s Morgan Cox Award, given to that “member whose vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice best exemplify the ideal of service to the Guild.

Petrie also served as a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1997-1999), as a Trustee of the American Film Institute (2004-2011), and is a long time member of the Academy Foundation’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Committee (1996-2004, 2006-present).

Petrie currently serves as Vice President, Programs, of the Writers Guild Foundation. In that capacity, Petrie provides general support for all the programs of the Foundation, which include a High School Literacy Program and screenwriting workshops for veterans. Petrie created and moderates the Foundation’s annual “Notes on Craft” program, a series of six evenings discussing various aspects of the screenwriting craft for an audience of both WGA members and aspiring screenwriters.

Petrie has also long been an active volunteer for the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference, sitting on the Festival’s Board of Advisors. In 2012, the Austin Film Festival announced the addition of a new “Enderby Entertainment Award” to the festival’s screenwriting competition. The new award is open to feature screenplays in all genres with an original concept and distinctive voice that can be independently produced with a production budget under $5 million. Finalists and winners are selected by Petrie and Dugdale.

Petrie, who has dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife of over thirty years, Constance Petrie.


Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_39_Daniel_Petrie.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 9:30pm PDT
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"The Good Wife" Re-Recording Mixer Larry Benjamin Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with re-recording mixer Larry Benjamin, whose credits include: "The Good Wife," "Swingers," "Bones," "CSI," "NCIS," "Gossip Girl," "Foo Fighters, Back And Forth," "Babylon 5," just to name a few. If you're looking for a sound guru, Larry's your man. We talk about everything from creating a cable Bingo show as a kid to working for Dick Clark to mixing a documentary for the Foo Fighters.

LARRY BENJAMIN'S BIO

My name is Larry Benjamin, I come from a suburb of Boston.  I've always had an interest in sound and used to bounce sounds between two cassette recorders when I was a kid.  We did radio shows with sound effects and music.  I've always played keyboards and was in various bands in high school.  My interest in sound and picture grew went off to Emerson College in Boston.  I worked at the campus radio stations and cut together audio for the clips used in our school's local comedy troops.  After college I moved to LA and started in the biz as a runner delivering tapes to a post house that I later ended up working for in the tape vault.  These entry level jobs were good training in learning about the entire post production process.  I then became a recordist (audio assistant) and later a sweetening mixer where I mixed trailers, promos and variety shows such as the American Music Awards, music specials and pre-produced packages for the Oscars.  After a few years of this, I moved into dub stage mixing where I started mixing music and foley and then later moved into the dialog chair where I am today mixing dialog and music.  I mostly mix long form and episodic television shows but have mixed a variety of documentaries, indie films and other passion projects.  I really love what I do and am currently a partner and employee of Smart Post Sound in Burbank.  I'm grateful to work with so many talented people and am working on "The Good Wife" and "Bones" as well as a variety of TV movies.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_41_Larry_Benjamin.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 4:38pm PDT
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Direct download: 2_Degrees_1_Year_Anniv.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:44pm PDT
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Producer/Director David Lincoln Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with producer/director David Lincoln ("Reno 911," “Reno 911 Miami," "Hell Baby," “Balls Of Fury," “The Hunger Pains," “Funny Or Die Presents"). David worked his way up from set PA to producer on the show “Reno 911" and has been heavily involved in bringing more laughter to the world since. We talk about everything from slating on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer" to directing for Funny Or Die to being complimented by Robin Williams for a very particular performance.

DAVID LINCOLN’S BIO

David Lincoln is a producer and director with very serious eyebrows. Born in Manhattan and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he studied at Hampshire College and taught English in Toyama, Japan, before returning to Los Angeles for a career in film and television. 

He is producing partner to Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and has worked with them for almost a decade on projects such as the Comedy Central series Reno 911!, Focus Features’ Balls of Fury, and the Fox film Reno 911!:Miami, as well as pilots for NBC, FX, and more. He wrote and directed a number of FunnyOrDie shorts, as well as the “trailer" for the Harvard Lampoon’s The Hunger PainsRecently, he Executive Produced and Directed 2nd Unit on the forthcoming Millennium film Hell Babywhich stars Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb as an expectant couple moving into a very haunted house, Garant and Lennon as elite Vatican exorcists, and Keegan-Michael Key as their maybe-neighbor, maybe-sleeping-in-their-crawlspace-guy. The film debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

He is currently in pre-production on @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, coming this fall on Comedy Central.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_38_Dave_Lincoln.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
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Jane Espenson Writer/Producer Of "Once Upon A Time" And "Husbands" Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense pleasure of chatting with the very talented writer/producer Jane Espenson. Jane’s name tends to pop up in the credits of a large number of my favorite television shows. Her many credits include "Once Upon A Time," “Battlestar Gallactica," "Husbands," "Game Of Thrones," and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer," just to name a few. We talk about everything from writing for Snow White to working with Joss Whedon to co-writing an award winning online sitcom about a married same-sex couple.

JANE ESPENSON BIO’S 

Jane Espenson created the award-winning online comedy Husbands with her producing partner Brad Bell. She is also known for her work as a writer/producer of shows including Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelFirefly,The O.C., Gilmore GirlsBattlestar Galactica, and Game of Thrones among other series.She is currently proud to be writing for ABC’s Once Upon A Timeas well as for it’s spin-off, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, while producing new episodes of Husbands with Bell for The CW Digital Studio.

Coming up: New episodes of "Husbands" will be available on the CW Digital Studio in August.

You can also find a comic book version of “Husbands" on Amazon.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_37_Jane_Espenson.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:56am PDT
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"Kroll Show" and "Arrested Development" Writer/Producer John Levenstein Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I get to chat with the very funny John Levenstein. John is an Emmy-winning comedy writer whose credits include: Kroll ShowArrested DevelopmentPortlandiaThe John Larroquette Show and The Life And Times Of Tim. He also plays a judge on Kroll Show and voices John the Rat on Portlandia. We talk about everything from how an economics major gets into comedy to Emmy parties to writing for Michael Cera. 

JOHN LEVENSTEIN'S BIO

John Levenstein graduated from Yale in 1981 and has been a professional comedy writer since then. In the 1980s, he wrote screenplays for Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers and other studios, along with sketch comedy and music videos for Michael Nesmith. His work with Nesmith culminated in the NBC show “Television Parts,” featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, Bobcat Goldthwaite and many more.
 
Starting in the 1990s, he mainly wrote half-hour comedies, including "The John Larroquette Show," "The Secret Lives of Men," and "Arrested Development," for which he won an Emmy as a writer and co-executive producer.
 
More recently, he has returned to sketch comedy, including "The Life and Times of Tim," "Portlandia," and "Kroll Show," on which he serves as an executive producer.
 
John is a regular reader in the Los Angeles first-person narrative forum Sit ‘n Spin. He plays Judge Levenstein on the upcoming season of "Kroll Show." On "Portlandia," he can be heard as the voice of John the Rat in a series of stop-motion cartoons.
Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_36_John_Lev.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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 Actor/Writer/Comedian Fred Stoller Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the very funny Fred Stoller ("Fred & Vinnie," "Seinfeld," "Friends," "Everybody Loves Raymond,""The Penguins of Madagascar," "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"). Fred has guest starred on many a TV sitcom, so he's probably found his way into your living room on numerous occasions. He's a character actor who describes the characters he plays as usually "the guy who just misses or is off." He also wrote on "Seinfeld," and used that experience to write a Kindle Single called "My Seinfeld Year." Fred also used his own life experiences as inspiration for the feature film "Fred and Vinnie," which played at Slamdance and The Austin Film Festival. And now he also has a new book out entitled: "Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life Of A Perennial TV Guest Star." Fred and I talk about everything from having Larry David ask to read his spec script to winning the Audience Award at The Austin Film Festival to having Dick Van Dyke follow him on Twitter.  


There is a book release party for Fred's book "Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life Of A Perennial TV Guest Star" in Los Angeles on Thursday June 20 at Nerdmelt Theater.


FRED STOLLER'S BIO

As a stand-up comedian Fred was known for his dating woes, and his thrill-seeker persona. (I drank milk that expired yesterday!) He appeared on Late Night With David LettermanThe Tonight Show, and HBO’s Thirteenth Annual Young Comedian’s Special

Fred then guest starred on countless sitcoms, establishing himself as TV’s go-to nebbish: most notably as Ray Romano’s mopey cousin Gerard on Everybody Loves Raymond, Elaine’s forgetful date on Seinfeld, and Monica’s bossy co-worker on Friends. He’s appeared in the films Dumb and DumberRebound and Little Manamong others. 

Fred & Vinnie, the indie feature he wrote and starred in, won the Audience award at The Austin Film Festival. 

Fred wrote for the animated series Handy Manny, where he also voiced the character Rusty The Wrench. He was a staff writer for Seinfeld and the author of Maybe We’ll Have You Back--The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star published by Skyhorse Publishing. 

Fred's been traveling to colleges, theater groups, and other venues telling stories from his book about his life and the acting world.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_35_Fred_S.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PDT
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Comedian Deon Cole Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense pleasure of chatting with the very hilarious Deon Cole (“Deon Cole’s Black Box,” “Conan,” “Barbershop” 1st Amendment Standup,” “Def Comedy Jam”). You may have seen Deon performing standup all over the country or on TV. Or you’ve probably seen him in countless hilarious sketches on “Conan.” He was also recently the narrator of “Stories From The Road to Freedom” on the History Channel. And starting June 10, you can see Deon in his own brand new show “Deon Cole’s Black Box” on TBS. We talk about everything from his early days doing standup in Chicago to his love for “Star Wars” to touring with Def Jam.

DEON COLE’S BIO

Deon Cole is originally from the south side of Chicago.  Deon’s charismatic personality and original style make him one of the most popular performers in the comedy scene today.  As a standup, he has been featured on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, for Comedy Central he’s been featured on, John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show and Laffapalooza, Mash Ups and his own 1 / 2 Hour Special.  Deon has also been featured on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comic View, NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo, BBC’s The World Stands UpLopez Tonight, and STARZ’ Martin Lawrence’s First Amendment which he also hosted in 2010.  

Deon is also an actor, having appeared in MTV’s Short Circuitz and Wild N’ Out with Nick Cannon, as well as Barbershop 1 and 2.   Most recently, Deon was featured in FX’s The League.

After Deon’s 2009 standup appearance on The Tonight Show, he was offered a job as a staff writer for the show and made multiple appearances as a commentator and sketch performer on the show.  TV Guide declared, “A Star is Born” after Deon’s commentary pieces kept growing as a bit on the show.  In 2010, he was nominated for an EMMY and Writers Guild Award along with the other writers of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and he was named one of the “Top 10 Comedians to Watch” by VARIETY. 

Since then, Deon has continued with Conan as a writer/performer on Conan’s new show at TBS, aptly titled, CONAN.  In 2011, Deon received his second Emmy Nomination for his work with the writers of CONAN.  He also had the experience of a lifetime touring with and performing his standup on Conan O’Brien’s THE LEGALLY PROHIBITED FROM BEING FUNNY ON TELEVISION TOUR.

And now, Deon has his own show premiering in June 2013 on TBS called, DEON COLE’S BLACK BOX.  A video clip and social commentary show where Deon will offer up his unique views the weeks events.   Deon also was recently the narrator for The History Channel’s STORIES FROM THE ROAD TO FREEDOM, a documentary on the Civil Rights Movement.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_30_Deon_Cole-1.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
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Actress/Comedian/Youtube Star Angelina Spicer Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with actress/comedian/YouTube star Angelina Spicer, whose credits include: "Sketchy," "Tosh.0," "Electric Spoofaloo," and "Conan." You can see Angelina in the standup special "Standup & Deliver" on Jennifer Lopez's new network NuvoTV on May 21 at 10pm. We talk about everything from doing a Tyra Banks impression to playing Snow Black to talking on the phone with Spike Lee as a kid.

ANGELINA SPICER'S BIO

A Brooklyn native, Angelina is the eldest daughter of hip-hop pioneer Jimmy Spicer. As a comedic actress, Angelina has built a substantial online presence with her portrayal of Tyra Banks, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj on the Disney's Web series Electric Spoofaloo. Some of her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter. As a Stand up Comedian, Angelina has performed at The Hollywood Improv, The World Famous Comedy Store, Gotham Comedy Club and won the Fresh Faces Stand Up competition at The Ha Ha Comedy Club. She's appeared on VH1's 40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the 90's  and can be regularly seen The Yahoo sketch comedy series "Sketchy", or playing a crazy mix of characters like "Mrs. Butterworth" or "Snow Black" on Conan. If you wanna see her outside of Youtube, or Twitter (@AngelinaSpicer) check her out  on "StandUp & Deliver" at 8pm on Jennifer Lopez's new network NuvoTV.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_34_Angelina_Spicer.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PDT
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"Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn" Producer/Development Executive/Digital Media Guru/Filmmaker Josh Feldman Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the honor of chatting with producer/development executive/digital media guru/filmmaker Josh Feldman. What happens when someone is equally passionate about both technology and storytelling? You get 2-time Streamys winner Josh Feldman. Josh's credits include: "Halo 4, Forward Unto Dawn," "Electric City," "Larry Crowne," and "Koreatown." His work on the web series "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," was viewed over 50 million times. We talk about everything from shooting on 16mm film at Ithaca College to working with Tom Hanks to bringing the Master Chief to a live action format.

JOSH FELDMAN'S BIO

Josh Feldman has consistently been at the intersection of storytelling and technology.

Most recently, he served as Executive Producer on HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN, helping to package and manage creative development on a five-part live-action digital series for Microsoft and 343 Industries. FORWARD UNTO DAWN represents the most ambitious live-action incarnation of the hugely popular Halo franchise. Josh creatively managed a custom-designed pre-release viral campaign. To-date, FORWARD UNTO DAWN has amassed over 50 million views.

Prior to his association with Microsoft, Josh spent five years at Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s film/TV company, Playtone. Josh worked in a variety of development and production capacities for the company's diverse slate of films, HBO miniseries and on-going series.

Josh formed the first digital media strategy for Playtone, resulting in original YouTube content from Tom Hanks, a 16 episode talk show parody in partnership with Lexus, and ELECTRIC CITY, a 20 episode animated series in partnership with Reliance Entertainment and Yahoo. Josh developed and co-wrote ELECTRIC CITY with Tom Hanks. In addition, Josh project-managed and co-wrote a companion digital graphic novel and episode viewer app for iOS and Android devices. During his time at Playtone, Josh worked as a production executive on LARRY CROWNE, written and directed by Tom Hanks, starring Hanks, Julia Roberts and Bryan Cranston. He was also involved in the design and construction of a new state-of-the art editorial facility for the companies' projects.

Previously, Josh worked in several positions at DreamWorks SKG including marketing of live-action and animated films. Upon the conversion to an all CGI infrastructure, Josh segued to feature animation production for DreamWorks Animation.

Beginning his career in live theater, Josh spent three seasons in audio/media design for the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. Josh worked on dozens of theatrical productions, including the multi-venue, multi-format THE ANGEL PROJECT for director Deborah Warner.

Josh wrote and directed the short film KOREATOWN, which won the 2010 audience award at the DancesWithFilms Festival in Los Angeles. He has written and performed live storytelling monologues at an assortment of venues, including the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Josh has taught classes, written about digital media for The Hollywood Reporter, spoken on industry panels and sits on the advisory board of RX Laughter, a non-profit organization which studies and utilizes humor and media to treat seriously ill patients. He has master’s degree in writing from USC.

Josh is currently working on a new, confidential intellectual property for Microsoft Studios.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_33_Josh_F.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PDT
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"The Guild" And "Legend Of Neil" Actor/Writer/Director Sandeep Parikh Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the hilarious actor/writer/director Sandeep Parikh ("Save The Supers," "Legend Of Neil," "The Guild," "Community," "Californication," "The Temp Life"). You may know him as Zaboo from "The Guild" or maybe you saw him play Abed's Abed on "Community." You may also be one of his many fans from his work behind the camera. Either way, Sandeep is a guy who delivers many, many laughs. We talk about everything from doing gymnastics in a bar to the power of the internet to Comic Con fame. 

SANDEEP PARIKH'S BIO

Hi I'm Sandeep's bio. As such, it is my duty to inform you that Sandeep is a comedic writer, director and actor. He plays Zaboo on The Guild, created, directed and stars in Save The Supers, and also created, directed and co-wroteThe Legend of Neil for Comedy Central. Hi I'm Sandeep's Bio's bio, he's featured on Sandeep's website and is polyamorously dating several YouTube comments and a Huffington Post article on smart-phones.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_32_Sandeep.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Actress/Musician/Composer Nora Kirkpatrick Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the multi-talented actress/writer/composer Nora Kirkpatrick. Nora's many acting credits include: "Greek," "The Office," "CSI," "Dorm Life," "Big Sur," "Growth," "John From Cincinnati" and "Happy Place," just to name a few. Besides acting in film and TV and composing scores for films, Nora also plays accordion, keyboards and sings in the Grammy-winning, gold record-producing band Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. The band's third album is coming out this May. You can currently see Nora as Esther on "The Office" on NBC. Nora was a delight to interview. We talked about everything from accordion muscles to touring with Mumford and Sons to how farming experience can come in handy when guest starring on a hit network show.  

NORA KIRKPATRICK'S BIO

NORA KIRKPATRICK grew up in the rural Midwest, and studied in Spain, England and Africa before graduating from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television in 2007. She has been working steadily in both TV and film since her graduation, most recently playing Esther, Dwight’s new love interest from the farm, on the final season of NBC’s The Office.

She’s had recurring roles on several other shows, including ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, ABC Family’s Greek (as the uptight Panhellenic president, Katherine Parker), and on HBO’s John From Cincinnati.

Active in the indie film world as well, Nora has a supporting role in the film Big Sur, starring Kate Bosworth, that screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year. She has two other films coming out in 2013: Sexy Evil Genius, starring Seth Green, and a voodoo thriller, Bayou.

Nora is heavily involved in the sketch and improv world, often performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. She also co-wrote and starred in two Funny or Die produced and funded webisodes entitled “Happy Place.”

On the musical side, Nora has been playing accordion, keyboards and singing in the folk-rock group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros since its inception in 2009. The band has appeared on Letterman twice, Jimmy Kimmel twice and on Conan three times. Their first album yielded a gold record, Rolling Stone listed the second album in its top 10 for 2012 and the third album comes out in May 2013. Earlier this month, the band won a GRAMMY with Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show for best long-form music video, the film Big Easy Express, that also won the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival.  The band has played Coachella, Lollapalooza (both in Chicago and South America), Bonnaroo, SXSW, Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands, among others, and many European music festivals. It curated a series of sold-out concerts and performance art in the Old Vic Tunnels in London at the request of Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey.

In her free time, Nora also writes songs and film scores. Her scores have appeared in several short films (Peter at the End, Elliot and others) and she wrote and composed original songs for the upcoming feature film Never, starring Zelda Williams.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_31_Nora.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Comedian Dana Gould Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the honor of chatting with the hilarious Dana Gould ("The Simpsons," "The Ben Stiller Show," "Parks And Recreation," "Lost Angels," "The United Monster Talent Agency," "Seinfeld"). You've probably seen him performing standup on TV or heard him on his super funny podcast "The Dana Gould Hour." Some regard Dana as one of the pioneers of alternative comedy. Dana is taping his new one hour special, "I Know It's Wrong" this March in Seattle at The Neptune Theater. We talk about everything from doing standup at age 17 to writing for "The Simpsons" to stories about the Comedy Condo.

DANA GOULD'S BIO

Massachusetts native Dana Gould began his professional stand up career at the tender age of 17, cutting his teeth in the comedy boom of the 1980’s. He arrived in Los Angeles in the early 90’s, where he became one of the founding fathers of the alternative comedy movement. After starring in the TV series “Working” and guesting on such shows as The “Ben Stiller Show” and “Seinfeld”, Dana joined the writing staff of “The Simpsons,” eventually becoming executive producer of the legendary show. 

Dana left the show and rededicated himself to his stand-up career. In addition to numerous HBO specials and the CD, Funhouse, Dana recently completed the one-hour special “Let Me Put My Thoughts In You”, directed by fellow “Ben Stiller Show” alum Bob Odenkirk.

Dana wrote, produced and starred in the pilot “Nolan Knows Best” for ABC television and, in addition to his podcast, The Dana Gould Hour, which premieres in February 2012, is currently developing, along with the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, a new pilot for F/X, “Rock Bottom.”

 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_28_Dana_G_-_Finished.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Producer Rick Dugdale Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with producer Rick Dugdale ("Combat Hospital," "About Cherry," "A Haunting At Silver Falls," "The Storm"). Rick is the President of Enderby Entertainment and has a wealth of experience in production. Rick started as a production assistant and moved up the ranks to work in the locations department and from there moved up to producing for TV and film. We talk about everything from film financing to working on "The X-Files" to how one goes about getting a major city to agree to shut down busy streets for a shoot.

RICK DUGDALE'S BIO

Enderby Entertainment President Rick Dugdale oversees all aspects of finance and physical production for Enderby. He serves as producer or executive producer on all Enderby Entertainment projects, including About Cherry, which Dugdale produced for Enderby in addition to playing a key role in arranging the financing for the film. Dugdale will produce the Mickey Rourke film, The Storm as well as Dawn Patrol by Daniel Petrie, Jr. Dugdale also serves as CEO of Tony-Seven Films, Enderby Entertainment’s thriller division; he served as executive producer on The SpeakVile and 5 Souls and as producer on A Haunting At Silver FallsNo Tell Motel and Blood Shed. Another major focus for Dugdale is transmedia and all forms of social media marketing.

Dugdale joined Daniel Petrie, Jr. & Company as Vice President, Production in 2003 before becoming a full partner in 2004. He then founded Enderby Entertainment with Petrie in 2006. Prior to teaming up with Petrie, Dugdale gained extensive experience in physical production in his native British Columbia, working at all budget levels in both feature film and television. During this period, Dugdale was responsible for negotiating with local and provincial governments some of the most complex and extensive location filming agreements to date. Dugdale then gained experience in public sector financing and investor relations while working in oil, gas and uranium markets.

Dugdale also serves as one the judges and panelists for the sponsored award category of the Annual Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, the Enderby Entertainment Award.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_29_Rick.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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"Moneyball" And "Eastbound & Down" Assistant Director Jonas Spaccarotelli Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with assistant director Jonas Spaccarotelli. Jonas has worked with some of the biggest stars in TV and film. He got his start working as a production assistant in Portland and worked his way up to being an assistant director in Hollywood. His credits include: "Moneyball," "Eastbound & Down," "Everwood," "Eat Pray Love," "I Love You, Man," and "Killing Them Softly," just to name a few. We talk about everything from the importance of having a valid passport to what it takes to get into the DGA to shooting a movie across four countries.


JONAS SPACCAROTELLI'S BIO

Jonas Spaccarotelli is a DGA award nominated Assistant Director. He began his career in film by working as a PA in his home state of Oregon. He moved to Los Angeles in 2001, and was accepted into the Directors Guild 4 years later.  His credits include: "Moneyball," "Eat Pray Love," "Killing Them Softly," "Paranoid Park," and "Stand Up Guys."


Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_26_Jonas.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:40pm PDT
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"Criminal Minds" And "Titanic" Special Effects Guru Tom Seymour Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with special effects guru Tom Seymour, whose credits include: "Titanic," "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End," "Criminal Minds," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," "Lethal Weapon 4," and "Jericho." If you're looking to make a car explode or make a river flood or create an accurate replica of the the Titanic for a movie, Tom's the man to call. We talk about everything from working on a Young MC music video to building a river set for "Dante's Peak" to why math and science are important subjects to study if you want to blow things up for a living. 

TOM SEYMOUR'S BIO

I was born on Friday the 13th.

My Dad was a fireman.

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

I get paid to commit felonies and acts of vandalism.

My Mad Scientist motto:

"Blowing up the world. A little at a time."

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_25_Tom_S_3.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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"30 Rock" And "Arrested Development" Writer/Producer Ron Weiner Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I am lucky enough to chat with the hilarious and talented writer/producer Ron Weiner. Ron is a 2-time Emmy Award winning comedy writer and his credits include such shows as "30 Rock," "Futurama," "Arrested Development," "Newsradio," "Father Of The Pride," and "The Weird Al Show." Besides writing for some of TV's funniest shows, Ron has also written a musical about internet dating that had international acclaim. We talk about everything from the vermin at the "30 Rock" writers' offices to writing for Weird Al to how amazing it is to work with Tina Fey. 

RON WEINER BIO

Ron Weiner is a two-time Emmy Award winning comedy writer.  He has written for such shows as 30 RockArrested DevelopmentFuturamaNewsradio, and The Weird Al Yankovic Show

Ron is also a composer and lyricist.  His songs have appeared on Futurama and Help Me, Help You, a short-lived but much loved sitcom starring Ted Danson.  He also wrote a stage musical entitled Internet Dating: The Musical, which was an LA Times Critic’s Pick.  It was later produced in Seoul, South Korea (!).  Ron can attest to this because he flew there with his parents and Aunt Rhoda and saw the Korean production, which was totally professional, quite excellent, and clearly had a larger budget than the LA original. 

Ron grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts.  While an undergrad at Harvard, he joined the Harvard Lampoon comedy magazine, at which point he learned about the possibility of an actual career writing comedy for TV, and not just being annoying in line for food in the dining hall. 

Ron lives in Los Angeles, California.  He urges anyone reading this to get up and walk around, because research is showing that sitting is worse than smoking.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_27_Ron_W_-_30_Rock.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Cinematographer/Director/Writer Tom Callaway Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with cinematographer/director/writer Tom Callaway, a very talented fellow whose credits include: Broke SkyFeastRoad House 2: Last Call,  Undead Or AliveWho’s Your Caddy?National Lampoon’s Gold DiggersCritters 3 and 4, A Warrior’s HeartHeebie Jeebies and The New House Party, just to name a few. Tom is a hard working guy, he has over 82 credits as a cinematographer on IMDB. You may have also seen him on TV working behind the scenes of the Feast, a Project Greenlight movie. His directorial debut, Broke Sky, was an official selection of the South by Southwest Film Festival, won the best narrative feature at the Memphis Indie Film festival and won the Grand Jury award at the Dances with Films Festival. Variety had the following to say about Broke Sky: ""An exceptional example of American indie filmmaking...begins on a ghoulishly jaunty note and then audaciously shifts gears into a powerful noir." Tom and I talk about everything from how he built a dark room in his closet as a kid to shooting a movie in 3D to how to make your own opportunities.

 

THOMAS L. CALLAWAY'S BIO

Tom is a native of Waco, Texas. He grew up with 6 sisters, who provided eclectic
influences for Tom in his childhood. He attended Catholic school, and after surviving evil nuns and loquacious priests, he enrolled at Sam Houston College.

Tom was always interested in movies, and three in particular always stuck with him. COOL HAND LUKE, MIDNIGHT COWBOY and IN COLD BLOOD. It was the work
of Conrad Hall in the latter film that inspired him to become a director of photography.

After a stint in the Navy Reserve, Tom made the big move to Los Angeles in 1982,
finding employment in the movie industry two weeks after he arrived.

His start as a cinematographer came in 1986, with the Texas-shot movie GHOST
RIDERS, and then the mighty cult epic ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS. That
led to a string of genre movies, with increasing budgets and higher profile casts. To date, Tom has worked with such talents as Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Arkin, James Coburn, Christopher Plummer, Richard Chamberlin and Angela Basset.

He has photographed over 80 feature films. He has also shot several network television shows, and a number of TV movies. He added to his impressive resume recently by appearing in the reality TV show PROJECT GREENLIGHT, which chronicled the making of John Gulager’s FEAST.

Tom is presently at work developing his next project as a director.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_24_Tom_Calloway.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PDT
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Documentary Filmmaker/Writer/Director/Producer Grace Lee and Actress/Comedian/Writer Jane Edith Wilson Share Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I chat with two very talented ladies: documentary filmmaker/writer/director/producer Grace Lee and actress/comedian/writer Jane Edith Wilson´╗┐Grace Lee is an award winning filmmaker whose credits include: The Grace Lee ProjectAmerican Zombie and Janeane From Des Moines. ´╗┐Her work as appeared on the Sundance Channel and at festivals such as Slamdance and the Toronto International Film Festival. You may have seen Jane Edith Wilson performing standup on Comedy Central or on many a TV show or feature film. Her credits include: Curb Your Enthusiasm, FrankTV, ER, Eight Legged Freaks, Seinfeld, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, American Zombie, Significant Others, TV Guide Letter Theater and Janeane From Des Moines, just to name a few. Grace and Jane first met when Grace directed Jane in the feature American Zombie. They also recently worked on a second feature together, Janeane From Des Moines, a mockumentary about the 2012 Iowa Caucuses (Janeane From Des Moines is now available on iTunes). We talk about everything from making Larry David laugh to creating a movie about the softer side of zombies to making the national news alongside Mitt Romney. 

GRACE LEE'S BIO

GRACE LEE (Producer/Writer/Director) Lee's most recent feature film JANEANE FROM DES MOINES had its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Grace Lee was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. She has a BA in History from the University of Missouri and an MFA in Film Directing from UCLA Film School where she won DGA and Student Academy Awards for her thesis film, BARRIER DEVICE, starring Sandra Oh.  Her first documentary THE GRACE LEE PROJECT was released in 2005, broadcast on the Sundance Channel and is distributed by Women Make Movies. She also co-wrote and directed AMERICAN ZOMBIE, a feature film, released in 2008 by Cinema Libre.  She is the recipient of the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Digital Media, a Rockefeller Media Arts grant, the PPP Pusan Prize as well as funding from the Ford Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, Chicken and Egg Pictures, and the Armani Directing Fellowship through Film Independent. Other documentary credits include BEST OF THE WURST, which is permanently featured at the Currywurst Museum in Berlin and CAMP ARIRANG. She is currently in postproduction for AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS about a 97-year-old Chinese American philosopher and activist in Detroit.

JANE EDITH WILSON'S BIO

Jane Edith Wilson acts, writes, produces, and can tell a joke or two. She welcomes anyone who wishes to give her money to make her next film. Tweet her @JaneEdithWilson

Random fun fact about Jane: She appeared as one of the "NCIS dancers/singers" in an episode of my web series TV GUIDE LETTER THEATER.
Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_22_Grace_and_Jane_3.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:00am PDT
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This site is still a work in progress. So please be sure to check out our podcast Tumblr page

Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm PDT
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Comedian/Writer/Actress Tess Rafferty Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with comedian/writer/actress Tess Rafferty. Tess is a hilarious lady that you've probably seen performing in countless sketches on "The Soup" or you may have seen her discussing pop culture on the TV Guide Channel or VH1. Besides writing for and performing on TV, Tess recently wrote her first book, "Recipes for Disaster: A Memoir." We talk about everything from her inspiration for her book to playing a dancing maxi pad on TV to the importance of a beehive. 

Also, in honor of the Golden Globes coming up next weekend, Tess was kind enough to allow us to share an excerpt from "Recipes For Disaster: A Memoir" with some great ideas/recipes for throwing an awards show party (which I am pasting below).

TESS RAFFERTY'S BIO

For 7 ½ years Tess Rafferty wrote on the cult comedy show The Soup, where she skewered pop culture, parodied celebrities and helped her co-workers pick out gifts for their wives. She was frequently seen on camera as herself, Posh Spice, a Succubus, a “Guidette” from Jersey Shore, and perhaps most notably The Dancing Maxi Pad. Her first feature film, Thicker Than Water, is scheduled to begin filming in early 2013.

While at Emerson College, Tess started performing stand-up comedy at the clubs and Chinese restaurants around Boston, and, when not holding herself to ridiculous standards at dinner parties or learning to speak Italian, continues to perform stand up in Los Angeles. She is also a regular performer at the storytelling show, Public School, and frequently reads her essays at the Pez show. She can also be seen discussing pop culture on the TV Guide Channel and VH1.

A drinking “enthusiast,” Tess enjoys wine, specifically good wine. She’s tasted wine from the Napa Valley to Long Island to the island of Ischia, and at every airport bar in between. Her travels have led to an appreciation of good food, which she attempts to bring home and recreate for her friends, with varying degrees of success.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their three ungrateful cats, a modest wine collection and a pool. So nothing bad can happen here.

FYI: Tess will be participating in a book signing in Santa Clarita on February 7th at 7:00pm at the Santa Clarita Public Library.

EXCERPT FROM "RECIPES FOR DISASTER: A MEMOIR" - AWARDS SHOW PARTIES

Awards show parties are difficult to plan food for and your guests will need to eat The broadcast lasts as long as a flight to Europe and at least there people get 2 meals and a snack. Only it’s not a sit down event and everyone will want to eat at a different time or at least find a distraction from the categories they find particularly uninteresting. We’ve frequently served The Husband’s Chili (Formerly The Boyfriend’s Chili) during the Oscars as you can keep it hot in a crock pot or on the stove top and set up a buffet of cheeses, sour cream, hot sauces, tomatoes, raw onion, jalapenos…whatever you think people might like on their chili. Put out some bowls and spoons and let people help themselves whenever it’s convenient for them.

Likewise, the grilled cheese bar works well for the event. It’s not like you and your guests have to worry about fitting into those dresses.

The Husband’s Chili – The Colonic You Can Drink With

Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 large onion

2 lbs ground beef 

2 hot sausage links

2 cups water

1 12 oz. beer

4 tsp paprika

2 tablespoons plus 2 tsp cumin

1 cup chili powder

2 tsp cayenne pepper

8 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

About 2 inches of pepperoni, cut into small pieces

Salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste

Cheddar Cheese

Sour Cream

Chopped tomatoes (optional)

The Husband has been making this recipe for years, largely by heart, which means he often changes things up and doesn’t measure accurately, preferring to adjust his spices to taste. So, if you are worried about it being too spicy, use only half or so of the spices at first, adding as you go along to your own desired flavor.

Heat oil in a large stew pot. Dice the onion, then sauté it for five minutes over medium heat in the pot. When the onion starts to brown, add the ground beef. Keep “chopping” the beef with a wooden spoon so the beef breaks up into little pieces, which is how The Husband likes it best, just tiny granules of beef. Once the beef is browned and chopped into the preferred consistency, add water, beer, beans, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, vinegar and garlic. In a separate pan, sauté the sausage and then add that to the chili pot, as well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2 hours, stirring it every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and making sure the liquid isn’t boiling off. If it does, add more beer or water.

At the start of the second hour, dice up the pepperoni into 1/4”-1/2” cubes. “Don’t be anal about it,” says The Husband, “They don’t have to be perfect cubes, Just don’t make them too big.”  Sear the pepperoni in a pan with a little oil and add pepperoni to chili. Now’s a good time to start tasting and adjusting the spices, too. If it’s too hot, add more water. If it’s not hot enough, add Tabasco or more cayenne pepper. Continue to simmer for the second hour.

Serve with cheese, sour cream and chopped tomatoes.

When we want to be healthy we substitute dark ground turkey instead of beef.  You could use ground white turkey, but it’s dryer and we don’t want to be that healthy. Conversely, when we want to just stop our hearts for an afternoon we use only 1 1/2 lbs of ground meat and 1/2 a pound of stewing beef, which we let cook until it starts to fall apart. Also, you can add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce or tomato paste to thicken your chili, but we don’t since I can’t eat tomatoes.

Setting Up A Grilled Cheese Station or How to Make Your Guests Cook Their Own Food

This is so easy, you’re going to feel guilty. You’re going to feel guilty hell as you merely decant bread from its bag or simply stick a spoon into an open jar of mustard. And if you feel guilty then, you will feel Single-Mom-Leaving-For-Business-Trip guilty when your friends rave about it and ask for seconds and tell you it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten.

But you know what else you will feel? Relaxed. And probably pleasantly buzzed.

All you need is one or more panini makers and lots of counter or table space for your sandwich station. Then all you have to do is go to the store and use your imagination. Start with your bread and your cheese. Choose some basics: a hearty white or sourdough bread for purists; a neutral cheese like a mild cheddar or provolone. You want something for less adventurous eaters, however that doesn’t mean this is the time for cheese that comes individually wrapped. (It is never the time for individually wrapped slices of cheese!) After that’s out of the way, get some blue cheese, some goat, some sharp cheddar, some Gouda. You can buy this whole and slice or grate yourself or you may be able to find gourmet cheeses such as these already sliced, at places like Trader Joe’s. Get some wheat breads, something a little eccentric like olive bread or cinnamon. Remember to buy the appropriate amount for your guests. There may be six loaves at the store you’re dying to try, but if you’re only serving 12 people that may be overkill. What are you going to do with the leftovers, besides create the biggest flock of foodie pigeons on your block?

Next, if you want, you can always add different meats like prosciutto or salami or braised short ribs. But braised short ribs take work so you may want to skip this. Or do as we do, and next time you braise some short ribs, throw a little meat and gravy into the freezer for days like this.

After that, pick some spreads: mustards, honeys, aiolis, tapenades. The gourmet food section at the grocery story is your oyster! Raid the gift baskets you got last Christmas for those condiments you never thought you’d use. Depending on how much work you personally want to do, you could slice up some tomatoes, fry some bacon or carmelize some onions. Pick up a few things like walnuts or currants or raisins. Put a bowl of potato chips out so that people can crush up potato chips on their sandwich like they’re five again. Remember, if it sounds good to you, it will probably sound good to others as well. And if it doesn’t, it still sounds good to you, so who cares?

Arrange everything in some semblance of easy to get to order and try to have a separate spoon or fork for everything for people who are allergic to half of those things, such as myself. Then just plug in the panini makers and you’re all ready to go! I know, it’s so simple but so delicious, people won’t even mind that you’re making them cook their own food.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_23_Tess_Rafferty_FIXED.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PDT
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