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

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BoJack Horseman Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the very funny Raphael Bob-Waksberg. His credits include The Exquisite Corpse Project and Olde English Comedy: Sketch Pilot and he's the creator of the hilarious new Netflix series BoJack Horseman. We talk about everything from Boy Meets World to being voted class clown to the inspiration for BoJack.

RAPHAEL BOB-WAKSBERG'S BIO

Raphael is the creator and executive producer of the new Netflix series BoJack Horseman. He was a founding member of the comedy group Olde English, whose viral videos appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Weekly's Must List, and who performed to sold-out crowds at the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and the San Francisco Sketchfest. Raphael co-wrote and appeared in the film The Exquisite Corpse Project, and wrote on a few TV shows that didn't last very long.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Raphael_BW_mixdown.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 7:23am PST
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Stuntman Steven Ho Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the multi-talented and kickass Steven Ho, whose credits include: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End," Conan," "Mortal Kombat," "Soundman," and "The Departed," just to name a few. We talk about everything from Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots to being discovered by Jet Li to the surprising weight of a ninja turtle half shell.

STEVEN HO’S BIO

Steven Ho was born in Indonesia, where his father taught at the University in Jakarta. At age four, his family immigrated to Los Angeles as political refugees. Ho began his formal martial arts training in Orange County as an adolescent, and excelled in Southern California’s very competitive karate circuit. Shortly out of high school and at his first National tournament, Ho was spotted by Jet Li and recruited into the stunt business.

Known as one of the first martial arts tricksters in open competitions (NASKA), Ho helped to popularize the 540 kick and the Hawkeye Kick in the mid-eighties and first gained worldwide recognition for his stunt work as “Donatello” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (1991) and III (1993), and his role as “Chan” in Mortal Kombat (1995).

As a well regarded martial artist, action director, stuntman, and fight trainer in Hollywood, Ho works on a large number of high-profile film, television, commercial, and music video projects. He has privately trained many notable clients including Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco, Pierce Brosnan, Tobey Maguire, Pink, Method Man, Rachel Weisz, Gisele Bündchen, Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Bar Refaeli, Michael C. Hall, Brad Womack, Britney Spears.

As a regular guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and Conan, Ho’s popular and memorable stunt segments taught Conan the fine art of stunts and fighting.

Ho co-founded Plush Home, Inc., an all-encompassing interior design firm and furniture line, in 2003 with his wife, Nina Petronzio, American Interior Designer and Furniture Designer known for her high end Transitional Style designs. Plush Home has established itself as a top and high-end turnkey provider of home building and interior design services. It’s branded furniture line is housed in influential homes and hotels worldwide.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_49_Steven_Ho.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PST
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"Eagleheart" Co-Creator/Writer/Producer Andrew Weinberg Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with writer/producer Andrew Weinberg whose credits include: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "Eagleheart," "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" and "Nathan For You." We talk about everything from affecting politics in Finland to literally hanging overhead on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" to working with Chris Elliott.

ANDREW WEINBERG'S BIO

Andrew Weinberg was a staff writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien for a combined 9+ years. Most recently, he was a co-creator/writer/executive producer of Eagleheart starring Chris Elliott, which just completed its award-eligible third season on [adult swim]. He is a graduate of both high school and college.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_48_Andy_W.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 8:36am PST
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I will be back soon with more fun interviews. In the meantime, my LA listeners should check out the 2nd Annual LA Scripted Comedy Fest at IO West this month. I'll be teaching a class on January 23.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_47_IO_West_Class.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:10pm PST
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"Parks And Recreation" Actress/Comedian/Writer Alison Becker Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the very funny and talented Alison Becker. Her credits include: "Parks and Recreation," "Mayne Street," "The Newsroom," "The League," and "The Colbert Report," just to name a few. We talk about everything from playing a detective on several versions of "Law And Order" to apple boxes to how delightful it is to work with Amy Poehler.

ALISON BECKER'S BIO

Alison Becker is a comedian who plays Shauna-Malwae Tweep on NBC's Parks and Recreation. She can be seen as Sarah Morton in the Emmy-nominated ESPN webseries, Mayne Street, and she played Becky on the IFC improvised comedy Z Rock. Alison has also guest starred on FX's The League, Showtime's Californication, CBS's Rules of Engagement, NBC's Law and Order: SVU, and had a recurring role on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She has appeared in sketches for Late Night with Conan O'BrienThe Pete Holmes ShowHuman Giant, The Colbert ReportKroll Show and Nick Swardson's Pretend Time. Recently, Alison played opposite Will Ferrell in a Funny or Die production, playing Ron Burgundy's girlfriend. As a VJ for Vh1 (and before that, for FUSE), Alison hosted her own weekly show. You may also remember her as one of the pranksters on MTV's hidden camera show, Boiling Points, or from one of a million Vh1 clip shows. Still not sure where you know her from? Maybe it's from Adult Swim's Newsreaders, or from her recurring role on Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom. Or maybe it's from The Other Guys, or from Above Average's webseries The Morning After (which was mentioned in USA Today's "must see" list of 2013). Or maybe you remember her from Dating Rules from my Future Self, one of the most viewed scripted webseries of all time. Or, maybe you just go to the same Starbucks... Alison has been involved with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for over 10 years, on four different house teams, and in many other live shows. www.alisonbecker.com Twitter and Instagram: @thealisonbecker 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_46_Alison_Becker.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:30am PST
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Writer/Director/Actress Maggie Kiley Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the very talented Maggie Kiley ("Brightest Star," "Some Boys Don't Leave," "We Own The Night," "All Good Things"). I first met Maggie at the Austin Film Festival, where her directorial feature debut, "Brightest Star," was premiering. Her feature film was inspired by her short film "Some Boys Don't Leave," which was a number one selling short film on iTunes. We talk about everything from her beginnings in backyard performances to taking part in AFI's prestigious Directing Workshop For Women to directing her first feature two months after giving birth to her second child.

BRIGHTEST STAR will be screening in theaters and digitally starting January 31.

MAGGIE KILEY'S BIO

Filmmaker and actress Maggie Kiley most recently directed and co-wrote the feature film BRIGHTEST STAR which was inspired by her award winning short film SOME BOYS DON’T LEAVE.  As a recipient of the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant, BRIGHTEST STAR was shot on 35mm in New York City and stars Chris Lowell, Rose McIver, Jessica Szohr, Clark Gregg and Allison Janney.  BRIGHTEST STAR premiered at the Austin Film Festival and will be released theatrically and digitally in late January 2014.

Maggie was one of eight women selected to take part in American Film Institute’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women and it was through her participation in this program that she made SOME BOYS DON'T LEAVE.  Maggie received the Student Visionary Award at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and the Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker at Palm Springs International Shortfest.  SOME BOYS DON'T LEAVE was the number one selling short film on Itunes for several weeks, has played at over 40 festivals and continues to screen both nationally and internationally.  Currently, Maggie is developing her second feature, Dial-a-Prayer, to shoot in Michigan in the Spring of 2014.  She is also attached to direct the film 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, based on the graphic novel from Oni Press/Closed on Mondays Entertainment.

As an actress, Maggie has appeared in film, television and on stage.  She has worked extensively at Atlantic Theater Company in New York where she is one of just 40 ensemble members.  Maggie received her BFA in Theater from New York University and was invited to join the critically acclaimed ensemble after graduating.  Maggie has been fortunate to work with such great film and television directors as James Gray, Lesli Linka Glatter, Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Documentarian Nathaniel Kahn.  She recently appeared in Andrew Jarecki's  ALL GOOD THINGS alongside Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella. 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_45_Maggie_Kiley.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 8:58am PST
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"Community" Writer/Producer Andy Bobrow Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

You can find my podcast with Writer/Producer Andy Bobrow here.

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with the very funny Andy Bobrow. Besides being a guy who knows how to play the tuba (yes, the tuba), Andy is also very talented when it comes to writing comedy. His TV credits include: "Community," "Malcolm In The Middle," "Save Me," and "Sons of Tucson." We talk about everything from writing ads for Nissan to performing with the Groundlings to working on "Community."

ANDY BOBROW'S BIO

Andy Bobrow began his television writing career on the hit Fox show “Malcolm in the Middle,” and worked most recently as a writer and Co-Executive Producer on the critically acclaimed NBC cult phenomenon “Community.” Other credits include ABC’s “Samantha Who,” Fox’s “Sons of Tucson,” and several other pilots and shows now lost to the scrap heap of tv history. Andy began his writing career in advertising, and is an alumnus of the Groundling Theater Sunday Company.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_of_Alie_Ep_44_Andy_w_Sponsor.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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Direct download: 2_Degrees_1_Year_Anniv.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:44pm PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 PST
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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 WilsonGrace 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 PST
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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 PST
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Happy Holidays! Thanks to everyone who's been listening! I am happy to announce that in honor of the holidays we are having a contest where you can win a copy of Final Draft screenwriting software. I will be posting trivia questions about our first 20 podcasts on our Tumblr site in a few days. All you have to do is answer the trivia questions correctly to be entered to win. Please stay tuned for details. 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_21_Xmas_Giveaway.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 8:43am PST
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Voiceover Artist/Actress/Director/Singer Candi Milo Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with voiceover artist/actress/director/singer Candi Milo. Her vocal skills have been heard on over 20 animated shows. Candi's credits include: "Dexter’s Laboratory," "Fanboy and Chum Chum," "Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends," "Curious George," "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Cool World," "Cow And Chicken," "Gimme A Break," "Perfect Strangers," "Johnny Bravo," "Days Of Our Lives," "Empty Nest," "My Life As A Teenage Robot," "Tiny Toon Adventures," just to name a few. We talk about everything from crashing all three of her unions to working on a soap opera to what Steven Spielberg and Oprah have in common. 

CANDI MILO'S BIO

Two-time Annie Award nominee Candi Milo is one of the hottest female voice talents in Hollywood and the voice to be heard with over twenty animated shows on air.

 Currently appearing as five characters on Nickelodeon’s Fanboy and Chum Chum, she also starred as Cheese, Coco and Madame Foster in Cartoon Network’s hit: Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Milo created Maya and Tito in Scholastic’s Maya & Miguel and voiced lead roles in Loonatics Unleashed for Kids’ WB, W.I.T.C.H. and Maggie, The Replacements and Emperor’s New Skool for Disney Channel, Juniper Lee, Pet Alien and Curious George for Cartoon Network.

Add to that her ratings-winning Dexter on Cartoon Network’s infamous Dexter’s Laboratory, Astro Boy (Japan’s Mickey Mouse), the Flea on Mucha Lucha, Nick on Academy Award Nominated Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, as well as Snap and Bullnerd in Nickelodeon’s Chalk Zone, and Mrs. Wakeman on My Life As A Teenage Robot. Candi has contributed her talents to over eighty other animated shows, features and games.  Her work on the Final Fantasy franchise is a big draw for her fans. 

Steven Spielberg was the first to hire Candi on Tiny Toon Adventures and she joined Warner Bros’ expert stable of actors. She went on to voice twelve characters in Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World with Brad Pitt and Gabriel Byrne also throwing them lines on set, creating the reactions used. She has worked with countless celebrities and directed Selena Gomez in a Disney animated pilot. 

Candi began her career as a singer working for Disney theme parks in shows created especially for her and then settled in Los Angeles as a stand-up and singer for Princess cruise lines; one of their youngest-ever solo performers. Stints as a comic led her to open for Joan Rivers and Howie Mandel and spots on TV including Evening at the Improv, and a sketch-comedy show created by NBC. She has acted in over 200 on-camera commercials.

Candi starred in Reaching for the Stars, television’s first reality MOW and went on to play recurring characters on such hit shows as Gimme a Break, Perfect Strangers, Days of Our Lives and Empty Nest. Many more TV shows followed, as did films including Last At Bat, a short made for Funny or Die. Features include Bad Medicine, Almost An Angel, Dead Women In Lingerie and I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore. In theater, she performed in Los Angeles with Chris Kardashian in a benefit of Cabaret and starred The Drowsy Chaperone, as the Chaperone, to high acclaim. Her theater resume is also extensive. She was discovered at age 20 by the late Michael Bennett at an open audition for the first national tour of Dreamgirls, directed by Bennett, choreographed by Michael Peters (Thriller, Beat It) and starring Jennifer Holiday.

Candi lectures extensively on harnessing personal power and VO acting across the United States and Europe and is also an accomplished VO director. She judges for The Annie Awards and The Emmys. She has written a memoir entitled Surviving The Odd, her true story of growing up in one of the first half way houses and written and performed for sell out crowds a stand-up/pop show called; Hip Is A Relative Term.  Her other shows, Life’s Too Short…And So Am I (produced by Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin) Playing Well With Others and I Am Absolutely Exhausted, were also sold out evenings mounted in Los Angeles. Milo currently lives in Los Angeles and is active on BlogSpot, Twitter, FaceBook and her website candimilo.com.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_20_Candi_Milo_1.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:00pm PST
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Writer/Comedians Cheryl Holliday and Laurie Kilmartin Share Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I laugh my ass off and learn a lot chatting with writer/comedians Cheryl Holliday and Laurie Kilmartin. They are two of the funniest ladies you will meet. Cheryl and Laurie first met working as road comics together and both have now made the transition to successful TV writer. Cheryl is an Emmy winning writer whose TV credits include: "King Of The Hill," "Herman's Head," "Martin," "Mike And Molly," "Kung Fu Panda," and "Norm," just to name a few. Laurie is an Emmy nominated writer whose TV credits include: "Conan," "The Bonnie Hunt Show," "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" and "Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn." She was also a finalist on "Last Comic Standing" and her book Sh*tty Mom was on the NYT bestsellers list. We talk about everything from a Tribble Run to doing voices for "King Of The Hill" to performing standup in a mining town. 

CHERYL HOLLIDAY'S BIO

Cheryl Holliday is a writer who has lived a life of constant regret, ladled over self-loathing, and sauteed in tears of bitterness. Like the appendix, she serves no real purpose. Bios are bullshit. I like ginger snaps. Is anyone still reading this?

LAURIE KILMARTIN'S BIO

Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN on TBS. As a standup, she was a Top Ten finalist on Last Comic Standing, and has appeared on "Conan," "Jimmy Kimmel," Showtime and Comedy Central.

She is the co-author of “Sh*tty Mom” a New York Times and LA Times bestseller.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_19_Conan_Writer_Laurie_and_King_of_the_Hill_Cheryl.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:39pm PST
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"Happy Endings" Showrunner Jonathan Groff Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with showrunner/writer/producer Jonathan Groff, a very smart and funny guy whose credits include: "Happy Endings," "How I Met Your Mother," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "Andy Barker P.I.," and "Scrubs," to name a few. Jonathan was recently included in Hollywood Reporter's 2012 list of the top 50 showrunners. He also happens to be a five-time "Jeopardy!" winner. We talk about everything from working with Carl Reiner to what it's like developing for television to Siegfried and Roy's personal party string quartet.

JONATHAN GROFF'S BIO

Jonathan Groff was the head writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He also created the shows Andy Barker, P.I. and The Jake Effect and was a consulting producer for How I Met Your Mother. He is currently working as an executive producer on the ABC comedy Happy Endings. 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_17_Groff_2.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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Actor J Kristopher Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have lot of fun chatting with actor J Kristopher. J has appeared on TV ("Numbers," "Outlaw," "Conan," "Days Of Our Lives") and in feature films ("Seven Pounds," "Janky Promoters," "10-20"), just to name a few. J has worked with stars such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Mindless Behavior. We talk about everything from what it was like working with Jimmy Smits to J's fundraising campaign for his SAG card to what inspired his dancing when he played the character of Porn Andy on "Conan."

Fun fact: he and I recently appeared together as cops in the skit "Cop Hospital" on "Conan."

J KRISTOPHER'S BIO

“IT” is a term used in show business to describe true talent and/or pizzazz. Simply stated – J Kristopher has “IT”. From award winning feature films to co-starring roles on primetime television, even recurring late night appearances with Conan O’ Brien on NBC and TBS, J Kristopher is on a buzz worthy path to ultimate success. 

It all began in Houston, TX at the age of 6 when J wrote a note to his elementary teacher officially declaring that he would be an actor when he grew up. Soon afterwards, he had the pleasure of meeting Denzel Washington following a moving performance in the Broadway show, Checkmates. This experience inspired him to make his dreams become reality by acting in theatre. That dedication, some strict parenting, and a hard knocks upbringing resulted in an unbreakable work ethic that was soon complimented by his natural presence and amiable personality. J intuitively had a talent for portraying versatile characters and he developed a reputation for learning pages of lines despite last minute script changes. After achieving success with lead roles in numerous theatre productions and TV commercials in Texas, he left for Hollywood to fulfill his destiny.

Since his arrival, J has graced the screen on the TV shows "Outlaw" and "Numbers," as well as the feature films "Seven Pounds" and "Janky Promoters." He has also had the pleasure of working with such stars as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Mindless Behavior and Seth Green. He has also appeared in national spots for "Dancing with the Stars," Trivial Pursuit, GMC, Georgia Power, Nickelodeon, Mastercard, as well as a FOX promo with Carl Weathers. Not content with success in TV and film, he has been featured in a Target display ad that was posted in all stores nationwide. 

J Kristopher is indeed headed on a successful path that has no end in sight. With his hand in hit TV shows, big budget features, award-winning independent films, music videos and nationwide ad campaigns, he is poised to make an unforgettable mark on the entertainment industry and on the next 6 year old actor-to-be.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_18_Jay_K.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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Director/Producer Jason Ensler Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I am lucky enough to get to chat with the very talented director/producer Jason Ensler. As a kid, Jason thought about becoming a rabbi or a dentist, but luckily for those of us who are big fans of his work, he found his way into entertainment. Jason has an impressive roster of credits:"The West Wing," "Franklin and Bash," Hart of Dixie," "Gossip Girl," "Chuck," "Andy Barker PI," "Scrubs," "My Name Is Earl," "Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart," just to name a few. We talk about everything from his extensive knowledge of "Three's Company" to working with Donald Sutherland to how "The Conformist" inspired his work on "Gossip Girl."

JASON ENSLER'S BIO


Jason Ensler (born July 21, 1970) is an American film {and} television director and producer.


He directed and executive produced the pilots for "Cult," "Hart of Dixie," "Franklin & Bash," and served as Executive Producer and Director for the first two seasons of "Franklin & Bash."  He also directed the CBS pilot, "The Eastmans," with Donald Sutherland and Jacqueline Bisset.  And the pilots for "Southbeach," "Man of Your Dreams," and "Kath & Kim."


He directed and produced the pilot and all six episodes of the critically acclaimed and short-lived series "Andy Barker, P.I." starring Andy Richter and Tony Hale, and created by Conan O'Brien and Jonathan Groff. 


He has directed episodes of "The West Wing," "Chuck," "Gossip Girl," "Psych," "Ed," "Scrubs" and "My Name Is Earl."

He also directed the NBC television films "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three's Company" and "Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart" starring Cybill Shepherd as Martha Stewart.

In 2007, Ensler produced and directed the short documentary, Farewell My Subaru, a study of author Doug Fine's adventures becoming Carbon Neutral in rural New Mexico. 

Ensler studied Politics and Theater at Brandeis University and Film/Television at USC Film School.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_13_Ensler.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:00am PST
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"White Collar" Writer/Producer Joe Henderson Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of sitting down with TV writer/producer Joe Henderson whose credits include "White Collar" and "Graceland." Joe shares a lot of great stories about starting out in Hollywood and the many paths he took before landing his first writing gig. We talk about everything from being a dirty dancing, light saber wielding extra on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" to going through the WB Writers Workshop to what you can learn about story from "Duck Tales."  

JOE HENDERSON'S BIO

Joe Henderson is a writer/producer on "White Collar" and is also writing for "Graceland," a new show on USA. He's from Chicago and went to the University of Iowa. His first writing gig was an episode of "Kick Buttowski" that never aired, and if that ain't the beginning of an esteemed career, nothing is.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_16_Joe_H_2.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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Comedian And UCB Founding Member Matt Besser Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with comedian Matt Besser. Matt is one of the founding members of Upright Citizens Brigade and a hilarious guy to talk to. His credits include: “Children’s Hospital,” “Happy Endings,” “This Show Will Get You High,” “Undead Or Alive,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Raising Hope,” “Modern Family,” and “Parks and Recreation,” just to name a few. Matt is forever a member of “Asssscat” the longest running and greatest improv show in the history of the world.
 And he also has a fully improvised weekly podcast called “Improv 4 Humans.”  We talk about everything from Little Donny’s appearance on the “Today Show” to the beginnings of UCB to wearing zombie makeup in the hot desert to what petting zoo has a “Hot Chicks Room” sign.

MATT BESSER’S BIO

Raised a proud Razorback in Little Rock, Arkansas, Matt Besser attended Amherst College where he learned how to collect CDs. After graduating, Matt toured the Midwest doing stand-up, while taking improvisation direction from Del Close at Chicago’s Improv Olympic Theater.


In Chicago in 1991, he became a founding member of the sketch group Upright Citizens Brigade, and with them he has performed and written stage productions including “Virtual Reality”, “Conference on the Future of Happiness”, “Thunderball”, “Bucket of Truth”, “Big Dirty Hands”, “Punch Your Friend in the Face”, “The Real Real World”, and “Saigon Suicide Squad” (winner of Best Sketch at 1996 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen). He has directed stage productions including “Feature Feature”, “Immortal Combat”, “Sidecarrin’” (1998 U.S.C.A.F), and Todd Barry in “Icky” (2001 U.S.C.A.F). Besser’s one-man shows include: “How Much I Lied”, “May I Help You Dumbass?”, “Don’t Be A Dick”, and “RUhi?”. As a stand-up, he participated in the first USCAF. His most recent one-man show is called “Woo Pig Sooie!” and concerns his battles with God. As an improviser he was a member of Chicago’s “The Family” and is forever a member of “Asssscat” the longest running and greatest improv show in the history of the world.


In 1996 the UCB moved to NYC and produced their sketch show “Upright Citizens Brigade” for three seasons (’98 – 2000) on Comedy Central. In fall of 2005 the UCB premiered their improv show “Asssscat: Improv” on Bravo.
With the success of the tv show, the UCB opened their own comedy theater and improv school which operates two theaters in NYC, and one in LA.
After the UCB tv show , Matt teamed up with Method Man & Redman to create and perform in a hidden camera show on MTV called “Stung”. He was a co-creator and star of “Crossballs” which ran 23 episodes on Comedy Central; “This Show Will Get You High” on Comedy Central; and also created and starred in “The Very Funny Show” for TBS.com.


Besser has guest starred on, “The New Girl”, “Raising Hope”, “Modern Family”, “Parks & Rec”, “Children’s Hospital”; “Happy Endings”, “The Life & Times of Tim”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “Warren the Ape”, “Players”, “Sarah Silverman Show”, “Reno 911″, “Mighty B”, “Word Girl”, “Pilot Season”, “Bernie Mac Show”, “Frasier”, “Late Friday”; and featured in the movies: “Freak Dance”, “Bad Teacher”, “Year One”, “Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story”, “Drill Bit Taylor”; “The TV Set”, Sundance Film Festival favorite “Junebug”; and zombie western “Wanted: Undead or Alive”.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_9_Besser.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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Writer/Producer Kristin Newman Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, writer/producer Kristin Newman makes me giggle even more than usual and shares some great advice on writing for television. Kristin's credits include: "That's 70's Show," "How I Met Your Mother," "Single With Parents," "Chuck" and most recently, "The Neighbors." She also has a book coming out in the near future that I can NOT wait to read: "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding:  A Memoir of Sex on Vacation." We talk about everything from what a McGuffin is to hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and a chimpanzee to writing a pilot about one's family.

KRISTIN NEWMAN'S BIO

Kristin Newman has been writing for American television for thirteen years, on shows such as "That '70s Show," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Chuck."  She also wrote and produced a half-hour pilot for ABC starring Alyssa MIlano and Beau Bridges called "Single with Parents" and has also written and sold pilots to CBS, NBC and the CW networks.  She is currently a writer/producer on ABC's "The Neighbors," and just sold her first book to Three Rivers Press, a memoir called "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding:  A Memoir of Sex on Vacation."

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_14_Newman_1.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 9:45pm PST
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Comedian Jimmy Pardo Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense pleasure of chatting with the very hilarious Jimmy Pardo. A comedian often described as a "comic's comic" and the host of the immensely popular podcast "Never Not Funny," Jimmy is a guy who never fails to make me laugh. His podcast is the #2 podcast on iTunes hosted by a comic, after Ricky Gervais'. His television credits include: “Conan,” “That 70’s Show,” “Last Comic Standing” “Becker,” “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson,” “Monk,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and his own half-hour special, "Comedy Central Presents Jimmy Pardo." You may have also seen him interviewing celebrities on Team Coco's web series, "The Pardo Patrol." We talk about everything from managing a record store in the 80's to writing bad jokes about tornados to his new web series "Write Now! with Jimmy Pardo," a joint production of Nerdist and Never Not Funny. It will come out on October 29 on the Nerdist YouTube channel.

JIMMY PARDO'S BIO

Jimmy Pardo is as funny talking to a stranger in an elevator as he is talking to a crowd from the comic stage. That's because everything he observes or thinks, he immediately scans to find the funny. And he always finds the funny. After Jimmy was told for like the thousandth time that he was even funnier offstage than he was onstage, he dropped most of the jokes from his act. Now he spends nearly his entire set interacting with, and making fun of, his audience. And they love it.

Jimmy stands at the very center of the comedy world. That's not only because he's the ultimate "comic's comic," (as he's often called), but also because he represents where comedy is going, and everybody wants to come along.

Jimmy's raucous-but-smart weekly podcast, "Never Not Funny," has revolutionized the way comedians use the internet to connect with their audiences. It's the No. 2 paid podcast hosted by a comedian, after Ricky Gervais's. His guest list reads like a Who's Who of comedy: Conan O'Brien, Adam Carolla, Kevin Pollack, and Sarah Silverman have all been guests. Actors Jon Hamm, Ty Burrell and Craig Bierko have appeared on several of the funniest episodes.

"Never Not Funny" was voted by both iTunes and USA Today as one of the top podcasts of 2006 and 2007. It was an Editor's Pick in the September 2009 issue of Esquire magazine. In 2010, GQ magazine called the show "The Number 1 Relatively Obscure Thing You Need to Be Paying Attention To." The show, which started in Jimmy's dining room in 2006, now regularly hits the road with live tapings at festivals like SF Sketchfest, MaxFunCon, the Vancouver Comedy Festival and Bumbershoot. Twice, Jimmy and Co. have presented the "Pardcast-A-Thon," taping for up to 12 hours to raise money for The Smile Train.

Besides the podcast, Jimmy continues to headline at some of America's top comedy clubs and currently works as Conan O'Brien's opening act on "Conan," getting the studio audience into a laughing mood before the show tapes (he did the same for Conan on "The Tonight Show").

A true multimedia talent, Jimmy has frequently appeared on television and in movies. He has performed on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." He had his own half-hour special, "Comedy Central Presents Jimmy Pardo." He hosted "National Lampoon's Funny Money" on the Game Show Network, and was the co-host of AMC's "Movies at Our House" for four seasons. He has hosted episodes of VH1's "The Surreal Life" and "Love Lounge" and NBC's "Late Friday." He's appeared on popular shows such as "Monk," "That 70s Show," and "Becker." And he has acted in independent films such as "Relative Strangers" and "The Godfather of Green Bay."

Jimmy was the co-writer and star of the critically-acclaimed one-man show subtly titled "Attention Must Be Paid: The Jimmy Pardo Story" and a live pilot presentation, "Jimmy Pardo's Dance Party." He hosts monthly shows at the famed Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. He has recorded two comedy albums, "Uno" and "Pompous Clown."

Direct download: 2_Degrees_Ep_15_Pardo_2.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 9:37pm PST
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Assistant Director Scottie Gissel Shares Stories of Breaking Into Hollywood

You can find my podcast with assistant director Scottie Gissel here.

In this episode, I am lucky enough to sit down with assistant director Scottie Gissel.  Scottie started off in the DGA Assistant Director Training Program and from there moved through the ranks to become a 1st AD. She has worked in both television and film and her credits include such productions as "Glee," "Six Feet Under," "Get Shorty," "True Blood," "Jericho," "The Practice" and "Undead Or Alive," just to name a few. Scottie's impressive credits only show what an impressive force she is to have on set. She's the kind of AD you want behind the scenes, and she shares with us what it's like to do the work she does. We talk about everything from the DGA trainee program to working with Bette Midler to the audition process to play a corpse on "Six Feet Under."  

For anyone who isn't sure what an assistant director is, here's a quote from Scottie that was first posted in her "Message From The Chair" on TrainingPlan.org.

"Assistant Directors work the line where business meets art in the collaborative, yet hierarchal, sphere of motion picture and television production. In teamwork with the Director and Producer, the Assistant Director must facilitate production with all departments and prioritize with the ultimate result in mind: to finish the job – having done the work in the time allotted - without incident - beautifully! Not for the faint of heart, but every AD has tales of adventure born of those they have worked on."

SCOTTIE GISSEL'S BIO

I'm a 1st Assistant Director and have worked on such shows as "Glee," "True Blood," "Jericho," "Six Feet Under" and "The Practice."
 
I studied film at the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a Production Assistant in Texas until I moved to Los Angeles and began work as an Assistant Director Trainee. 
I joined the DGA after training for 400 days on such productions as "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Get Shorty."
In 2003 I was appointed by Martha Coolidge, then President of the DGA, to Trustee of this same training program that gave me my start and continue to serve in that position.
DGA TRAINEE PROGRAM 
For anyone interested in the Assistant Director Trainee Program, the deadline to apply is November 5 and the website is trainingplan.org.
Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_12_Scottie.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 10:36pm PST
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Comedian Adam Yenser Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with comedian and Emmy Winning writer Adam Yenser. Adam is a writer on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and you can also see him performing standup all over the country. You may have seen him on TV either on "Last Comic Standing" or in sketches on "Conan" or on "Ellen." Adam shares his stories of starting out in standup and talks about everything from the audition process for "Last Comic Standing" to appearing on TV as Anthony Weiner's bulge to writing for Ellen Degeneres. 

ADAM YENSER'S BIO

Adam Yenser began performing stand-up comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City where he also studied sketch writing. He has performed at numerous venues around the country including Gotham Comedy Club, The Hollywood Improv, and The Laugh Factory. He has worked for "Late Night with Conan O’Brien," "The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien," and "Conan." He has also been a freelance contributor to Weekend Update and currently writes for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." 

Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_10_Yenser.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 12:30am PST
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"Modern Family" Editor Ryan Case Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I talk to one of my favorite ladies, Ryan Case. Ryan is an incredibly talented and funny editor (and an Emmy winner) who helps shape one of the most successful shows on television, "Modern Family," every week. Some of her other editing credits include "The B--- In Apartment 23," "1600 Penn," "Kath and Kim," "Acting With James Franco" and my short film "My Mom's Just Not That Into Me." We talk about everything from being an extra on "Dawson's Creek" to what happens behind the scenes on "Real World" to where she was when she first read the script for "Modern Family."

RYAN CASE'S BIO

RYAN CASE is a television editor who is currently on her 4th season of
the hit ABC comedy MODERN FAMILY. Ryan earned an Emmy for her work
cutting the pilot of that series, as well as 2 other nominations.
Ryan's other editing credits include the pilots of ABC comedy DON'T
TRUST THE B---- IN APARTMENT 23 and upcoming NBC White House comedy
1600 PENN. She also cut shorts for KIDS IN THE HALL on their last tour and worked on the Judd Apatow produced ACTING WITH JAMES FRANCO. Also, you may have her work during the 2012 Emmys telecast (Lily is a monster). You can find Ryan on Twitter at @film114

Direct download: TWO_DEGREES_OF_ALIE_Ep_2.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:30am PST
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Writer/Producer Michael Jamin Shares Stories Of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I chat with TV writer/producer Michael Jamin, a very funny man whose credits include: "Just Shoot Me," "King Of The Hill," "Brickleberry," "Wilfred," and "Maron." Michael shares a lot of great stories from "the trenches" of some of TV's best writers' rooms. We also talk about everything from how King Lear relates to "Just Shoot Me" to working for the Dionne Warwick Psychic Friends Network to how cats make terrible co-stars to directing Mel Brooks. 


MICHAEL JAMIN'S BIO

Michael Jamin's first writing assignment was a freelance episode of "Lois & Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman."   The series was responsible for launching the career of Teri Hatcher, as well as ending the career of Dean Cain.  After stints on "Just Shoot Me" and "King of the Hill," he and his partner, Sivert Glarum, sold two sold numerous pilots to HBO and CBS, as well as a pair of movies to 20th Century Fox.  Recently, they served as showrunners on  "Glenn Martin, DDS," a stop-motion animation series starring Kevin Nealon, Catherine O'Hara and Judy Greer.  For two seasons, they resisted the studio's wishes to make the family dog talk, citing artistic integrity.  After the show's cancellation, they quickly sought work on a show about a talking dog:  "Wilfred" on FX. They then returned to their animated roots, writing the series "Brickleberry" for Comedy Central.  They are currently Executive Producing "Maron" a single-camera comedy coming soon to IFC.    

Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_7_Jamin.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:30am PST
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Writer/Producer/Performer/Comedian Jessie Gaskell Shares Stories of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense pleasure of chatting with writer/producer/performer/comedian Jessie Gaskell. Some of you may recognize her as Steph Schwartzman from the hit Hulu web series "Dorm Life." Jessie is a super talented, funny lady with many awesome credits to her name ("Dorm Life," "The Soup," "The Dish," "Pop Up Video"). She's also one of the few people working in comedy who has also worked at a ThinkTank in DC. We talk about many topics from working at "E! True Hollywood Story" to finding a strong zebra for a sketch to creating a hit web series. 


JESSIE GASKELL'S BIO

Jessie is a comedy writer and performer living in L.A. She's written for E!'s "THE SOUP," Style's "THE DISH," and various shows for VH1 and Disney. She also worked as a joke writer for RuPaul. Jessie created and wrote "DORM LIFE," the most-watched original web series on Hulu.com. You can hear her weekly on the the "What's Goin' On" podcast. She loves puppies of all kinds, because she's not a f-ing racist.

You can find more info on Jessie on her website and you can find her hilarious tweets on Twitter.


OTHER FUN LINKS:

DORM LIFE on Hulu:

http://www.hulu.com/dorm-life

THE DISH "I'm on a zebra"


Direct download: 2_Degrees_ep_8_Jessie_Gaskell_revis.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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Writer/Actors Brian McCann and Brian Stack Share Stories of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense pleasure and honor of talking about comedy with "Conan" writer/actors Brian McCann and Brian Stack. Both guys are two of the most hilarious men you will ever meet. Stack and McCann both started in the improv world in Chicago and from there got hired to write on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." They've created and portrayed some of the most memorable characters on late night TV. We cover many topics from performing at Improv Olympic in Chicago to talking to Walter Cronkite while dressed as Frankenstein to having one's bare ass on national television. 

 

BRIAN MCCANN'S BIO

Brian McCann is a brilliant writer/performer who has had an extremely successful career in television and film. Brian Stack is jealous of this.

 

BRIAN STACK'S BIO

Brian Stack has been with Conan since ’97, and has played such characters as The Interrupter, The Ghost Crooner, and Frankenstein.  He performed at Chicago’s Second City for 4 years, and still performs regularly at UCB and IO-West.  He has also appeared on “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and “Eagleheart.”

Direct download: Two_Degrees_ep_6.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 1:00am PST
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"Breaking Bad" Composer Dave Porter Shares Stories of Breaking Into Hollywood

In this episode, I have the immense honor of interviewing Dave Porter, the composer for the best show on television, Breaking Bad.  We talk about everything from his musical influences as a kid (Miami Vice) to couch surfing in New York and working for Phillip Glass.  Dave’s an amazingly talented guy and I hope you enjoy this podcast!

 

DAVE PORTER’S BIO

Dave Porter began his musical training at the piano at age five, and began composing as a teen. He studied classical and electronic music composition at Sarah Lawrence College, and started his professional career at Philip Glass’ studio in New York City. Dave is the series composer for the Emmy-acclaimed drama “Breaking Bad” on AMC, and was awarded an ASCAP Film and TV award for “Breaking Bad” and the FOX Studios paramedic drama “Saved” which aired on TNT. He also served as music editor on the final season of the HBO drama “Six Feet Under.” He was the composer for the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”, which premiered at Sundance and is currently airing on Showtime.  He is currently at work on “Smiley”, a feature horror film from director Michael Gallagher of YouTube’s “Totally Sketch.”  His scores also appear in the dramatic films “The Oh in Ohio” (Parker Posey, Danny DeVito), “Ultraviolet” (Milla Jovovich), and “Vacancy” (Kate Beckinsale).  Dave is currently working on the 5th season of “Breaking Bad,” further expanding the unique blend of ethnic and electronic instruments that have become a signature of the show.

Direct download: 2_Degrees_of_Alie_-_Dave_Porter_Ep._101.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 9:00am PST
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