Have you met Kit Williamson and John Halbach – Actors, Writers, Producers, and Travel Influencers?

Many of you may know Kit Williamson from Mad Men and his Emmy nominated and award winning show Eastsiders (Where you will also know his husband, John Halbach from). I am lucky to have become part of Eastsiders as an associate producer in season three and I am even luckier to be able to call them friends now as well. As a matter of fact, I just saw them in NYC when they were here to promote the third season of Eastsiders at New Fest last month.

If you follow Kit and John on social media you may have also noticed they have become quite the travel/luxury influencers these days and that is what I wanted to highlight them for here. Of course we must note that Kit is working on some amazing writing and directing projects like Girls Like Magic AND Eastsiders Season Three is available to pre-order at Amazon right now.

I have no idea how they find time to do all they do and take the fabulous trips they do BUT I do know that they make the trips look as fabulous as you’d imagine, plus are able to bring us all along via social media. Earlier this year, they took a trip across Europe that included time in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague. Then they returned to LA for the premiere of Eastsiders Season three at Outfest but soon after headed to Palm Springs for some more amazing views and Instagram photos!

Recently, they spent time in NYC, where I am from (after a brief stay in one of my favorite cities, Toronto), and introduced me to the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn. I actually lived right there in Williamsburg for a but but never visited this truly luxurious hotel right in my home town.

During their time in Europe, Kit and John experienced some of the local culture, explored the usual tourist sites, and definitely enjoyed the local cuisine. I spoke to John about it at the Eastsiders premiere party after Outfest in Los Angeles and he expressed interest in doing it again as well as traveling to other places. At the after party for Eastsiders at NewFest in NYC, Kit expressed the same feelings to me about traveling and I expressed my interest in joining them on a few adventures (can you blame me for trying?).

There experiences traveling and influencing have led them to start their very own magazine called Where Gentlemen Go to showcase all the latest and hottest trends in travel, health, home, fashion, and more. As they say, “Go Out, Go Home, Go for It – A gay men’s travel/ lifestyle blog for modern gents.” I suggest you check it out, you will see a familiar face there from time to time. I am truly proud to be a part of Where Gentlemen Go because it’s a place for guys to go to share experiences, thoughts, tips, and their favorite things and places.

Please make sure you follow both Kit Williamson and John Halback on Twitter and Instagram for to view pictures of their trips and upcoming adventures and projects. Also follow Eastsiders and Girls Like Magic, you won’t be sorry.

Have You Met Greg Finley?

You may know Greg Finley from his roles on iZombie, The Flash, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, or Star-Crossed (one of my favorites). You may have met him at a convention or two and I’m SURE many of you have a poster of him up in your room. I was lucky enough to be introduced to him recently and couldn’t wait to do a little introduction piece on him!
I really like doing these quick Have You Met pieces, especially when I learn a thing or two about the subject. In the case of Greg Finley, I discovered that we share a love and a dislike (you’ll see later on in the interview) and I was left wanting to talk to him more and go a little deeper. Hopefully, Greg will allow me the opportunity to follow up with a full interview soon too! Even in such a quick interview, I find him fascinating with a little mystery. Read, share, like, and maybe he’ll agree to sit down with me :) .
Now, in case you don’t already know him, let me introduce you to actor and filmmaker Greg Finley:
Q: Growing up in Maine, did you always know you wanted to be an actor? Were there any other professions that interested you?
Greg Finley:  I never wanted to be an actor, I never even thought of it. The reason I became an actor is for a different interview and I won’t bore you with all the details but I went through some things my senior year from 2003 to 2005 that led me to this crazy journey.
Q: You have an impressive acting resume, appearing on many shows we all know and love. How does it feel to be part of iconic shows like The Flash and iZombie?
Greg Finley: Thank you for saying that.  Yeah, it’s really cool to be a part of shows like iZombie and The Flash. I collected comic books as a child and I remember talking to one of my buddies growing up thinking it would be so cool if they did real life action movies and TV shows of comic books. So, to be a part of a couple of them was really neat. Both shows’ casts and crews are really  awesome, down to earth people and I love all those guys so much. It was a blast working with them.
Q: Appearing on shows like these, it gives you a different sort of connection to fans with conventions being so popular. Have you done many yet and what are your thoughts on this new form of interaction?
Greg Finley: Yes, I have done a few conventions, it’s really cool, the fan base for the shows …they are so into so many details of the show and they appreciate it so much and believe me we appreciate all of them! I think the coolest part is going to conventions in other countries, it always trips me out when people know my name or my character’s name from different countries and all over the world. I just love talking to the fans in different areas learning about their cultures and kind of connecting with them .. there’s something kind of cool about that.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
Greg Finley: I cannot live without the ocean. I live on the ocean here in Maine and whenever I don’t smell or hear the ocean for a while I feel trapped. I won’t get too deep with something that we could all live without because there is a lot of things in this world right now that we could all live without so I will just say traffic.. I hate traffic ha!
Q: Where can fans find you on social media?
Greg Finley: The fans can find me on Instagram at @gregfinleyofiicial and on Twitter at @Greg_Finley
Q: Speaking of social media, can you describe yourself using two hashtags?
Greg Finley: I guess if I would describe myself in two hashtags it would be #Goofy #Hungry
Q: What’s up next for Greg Finley? 
Greg Finley: I am currently working on my own script that I developed and trying to get it locally shot here in Maine.
There you have it, Greg Finley loves the ocean and dislikes traffic. Who knew we had so much in common? I don’t know if I’d ever call him Goofy to his face until he described himself as such, haha. He’s also looking to shoot a project in Maine, so get at him! And look for him at a convention near you! 

Onyx Movie promises to leave you questioning your reality

Do you love psychological thrillers as much as I do? If so, I think Onyx Movie will be the film for you! I am especially interested in this project because my friend Patrick White is acting in it AND directing. It also interests me since it is an indie project that can become a reality through crowd funding and fan support. Be sure to follow Onyx on Twitter and Facebook to find out all the latest info and be sure to support the campaign so we can get this film from concept to reality. Also check out the following interview I did with Patrick and Nati Rabinowitz and the trailer for the film below that. I think you’ll find it quite the teaser!

Q: Congratulations on your work with Onyx Movie! Can you tell me a little about what the film is about and what it means to you?

NATI: The Onyx story on its most basic level is about a man experiencing some very real realities while in a coma. It’s a film that can certainly be interpreted various ways, none are wrong.

PAT: Onyx really is about the possibility of losing everything. I mean when we are at our happiest is when we are most vulnerable. This is one mans battle with loss.

Q: This was your directorial debut, correct? What was that experience like?

N:Hard to say, as we haven’t shot the film yet, but so far the writing process, development and shooting of the teaser has been exciting. Overwhelming at times, but that’s been the advantage of working with a writing and producing partner. Patrick and I both keep each other motivated and on track with the project.

P: We haven’t shot the film yet so it will be a fun experience. Collectively we all have a lot of experience working in front of the lens, but this process from idea to completion is a huge learning experience about the business of making movies and is completely different than only preparing the script or our scenes.

Q: What advice do you have for fellow actors who want to direct?

N:Just do it. Start writing. Today.

P: if you really want to make a movie the first thing you should do is read other scripts. Decide if you want to write it and if not make sure you have some creative friends.

Q: What would you tell someone who wants to be an actor but isn’t sure about the right path to take or the right way to get started?

N:Sign up for classes. The rest will fall into place, the business aspect of things. Once you sign up I highly recommend my first acting coach Matt Newton’s book “10 Steps to Breaking into Acting.”

P: Take a class and see if you like it. Audition for student films and try to just get in front of the camera as often as you can.

Q: How can people help to make sure Onyx Movie is seen by the masses?

N: We need funding to make the film. The more funding we have the more amazing the film can be, and the more likely it’ll be to get into festivals, perhaps be made into a TV Pilot or feature film. That’s way down the line but right now we need your dollars. :)

P: the campaign is super important. Raising the money let’s us make the movie. We know not everyone can donate and that’s okay, but sharing the campaign with anyone and everyone is a HUGE deal. We want anyone who wants to see this movie, to have an opportunity to participate.

Q: Where can we find you and the film online and on social media?

N&P: We’re on Facebook at @OnyxShortFilm

Instagram as @OnyxShort

N: I’m @natirabinowitz on both Instagram and Twitter.

P: I’m @PatrickWhite_ on just about everything.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

N: I can’t live without a good kitchen, I absolutely love cooking and do so often. Without? ISIS. Seriously, we can do without them.

P: Food. Literally I love good food. Cheese specifically. I wish money wasn’t so important, everyone would be a lot happier and less stressed.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received? Who gave it to you?

N: Advice is like food. There’s healthy, phenomenal tasting food. There’s terrible, bland, unhealthy food and there’s food that’s just mehhh. But there’s no best food. I’ve been pushed to not play it safe, to get out of my comfort zone. It makes sense - as being adventuring with food is important too. Don’t eat grilled cheese every day. As for giving advice, and following it, I certainly think I try and pass on and follow the lessons passed on to me.

P: My mom always told me not to be a dick, you’d be surprised how far you can get in life by just being genuinely nice and caring about other people. As for advice I would give? Never eat expired cheese. Seriously. I’ve done this once or twice so I guess that tells you how good I am at listening to my own advice.

Q: What’s up next for Patrick White or what else do you have in the works?

P: What’s up next for me? Well that’s up in the air. I have a lot of fun ideas I’d like to develop but I’m taking it one day at a time and hoping this film is as fun for everyone as it was for us to make it.

Teeco71: Here it the trailer for your enjoyment, I hope you find it as intriguing as I do!

‘Troy’s Big Break’ speaks volumes for a community that is often under-represented

Joseph Ausanio is an actor, screenwriter, and creator of the webseries ‘Troy’s Big Break’. Joseph also happens to be deaf but he does NOT allow that to keep him from doing all the things he dreams of and he encourages us all to follow suit. Another thing you should know about Joseph is that he is a gay man who is representing in such a positive way.

The unique thing about ‘Troy’s Big Break’ is there are no spoken lines. Almost all of the dialogue is signed and there are captions for those of us who do not speak sign language. You really have to check it out for yourself! Here is a little about the show and Joseph as only he can tell you:

Q: Can you talk a little about Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: Absolutely! It’s a unique show because it showcases Deaf talent. It’s about a Deaf director who faces different types of life challenges while looking for the perfect actress for his production. Things start to unfold to show what’s going on in his life.

Q: What has the response to the show been so far from the deaf community as well as the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: It’s pretty popular with the Rochester, NY folks, because that is where we filmed the show. And the people know us there. Rochester also has a large D/deaf community there and it’s truly a nice thing. The people who watched the show always approach the cast members and let them know that they are fans of the show.  That really means a lot.  I had hearing people messaging me saying that it was so different from the other things they watched because they’re so used to seeing shows with a full hearing cast, but the reception from them has been really positive.

Q: What guest stars would you like to have on the show?

Joseph Ausanio: Ooh, this is a tough one. I’d love to have Marlee Matlin on the show. She’s one of my inspirations. I would LOVE to get Amber Zion on the show. She’s an incredibly gifted Deaf actress and I love her work. I would also love to get Rikki Poynter, who’s a super awesome YouTube vlogger and I love her videos. She’s not afraid to speak out and I have tremendous respect for her for doing that.

I’d also love to see Kelsey Lindhorst’s character faint when she sees Nyle DiMarco show up in an episode. That’d be hilarious. Or even Troy’s mom to go out on a date with him! (Think Sophia Petrillo going on a date with Burt Reynolds in an episode of “The Golden Girls”)

I’m all about showcasing more Deaf talent out there.

Q: Who were some of your idols/role models growing up?

Joseph Ausanio: First, Marlee Matlin, because she inspired me to become an actor growing up. Also, Lucille Ball is one of the greatest comediennes I’ve ever watched. When I first saw her on TV, I couldn’t walk away from the television. She never fails to make me laugh every time I watch “I Love Lucy”. I admire her so much.

Q: Do you think we will see more shows that involve hearing impaired characters like Switched at Birth and your show? 

Joseph Ausanio: I REALLY hope so. I would love to write a TV series for any network that features characters that are D/deaf because I want to support diversity. We have millions of Deaf people in the world and it would be great to do more shows for them.

Q: What would you say to others who are trying hard to make their dreams come true and trying to overcome some obstacle they have no control over?  

Joseph Ausanio: I would say this:

“If you want to make it happen, do it. If you want to travel all over the world, go for it. If you want to make movies, do it.  Don’t wait for things to simply fall in your lap. I learned this life lesson the hard way. Just listen to your heart. If you want to follow your dreams, now is the time.”

Q: What made you decide to create a character who is also gay?

Joseph Ausanio: The reason why I decided to create a gay character was because the LGBT #DeafTalent felt that they weren’t always showcased, so I wanted to showcase them more.

Q: What would you say to those out there who are dealing with issues around coming out? Both in the deaf community and in the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: I remember when I came out, it was very scary. I was 19 and in college. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend and I was slowly coming out to a few close friends and then my family members. My family and friends are incredibly supportive and I feel fortunate for that. For the others, I want them to know that they are not alone in this. I can’t speak for other people, because we all have different experiences. I can say that no matter what, you will always get support from the LGBT community and their allies. If they’re scared, I’m here to talk. I want to lend a hand to provide support. We have a big support system. We have a lot of LGBT people and the allies in our Deaf community and we are so incredibly supportive of each other, and the same goes for the hearing community.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received? Who was it from?

Joseph Ausanio: I had a great pep talk with a dear friend two weeks before he unexpectedly passed away; he was incredibly supportive of my dreams of moving to Los Angeles.  He said, “Seize the day.” He was right.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever given? Are you normally good at taking your own advice?

Joseph Ausanio: I’m bad at taking my own advice, but I try to give great advice to people. I would tell them, “Life is way too short to be unhappy.  Never give up your dreams even through the tough times, when you realize how strong you truly are.  Nothing….nothing is impossible.”

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Joseph Ausanio: I can’t live without my family, who have been my rock.  I wish we could all live without hate and violence;  there is way too much of that in the world right now.

Q: Where can we find you and your show online?

Joseph Ausanio: You can find me on Twitter via @JosephAusanio and you can find Troy’s Big Break’s Twitter page via @TroysBigBreak. We also have a Facebook page of the show. You can also find the full episodes on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/troysbigbreak. All of the episodes are captioned for the D/deaf and hearing audiences.

Q: What’s up next for Joseph Ausanio and Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: I am hoping to do a third season of “Troy’s Big Break”. I have the season premiere’s script written already. I’m planning to chat with my cast & crew to see if they’re game.  I work with the most amazing people – both cast and crew.  They have all taught me a lot.   I wrote a few pilot scripts here and there. I’m always writing new stuff.

I recently wrote a feature screenplay that focuses on a Deaf woman and her struggles with life and love. I’m hoping that it might catch someone’s attention because the story is so powerful. I gave it to an actress I want for that role and she loved the script.  Maybe something will come of it soon.

Have you met Richie Nuzz?

I first met Richie Nuzz at an EyeCon convention for the show Teen Wolf on MTV. He performed at that event and I was very impressed with his talent. Since then, he has attended more EyeCon events with us and he’s actually become a friend. A friend who constantly blows me away with not only his talent but his drive. I’m inspired by him daily through his social media posts and his desire to make a difference with his music.

Not only is Richie a song writer and performer, he has done modeling and dancing. Like I said, he’s got the drive to succeed and the desire to entertain!

Richie has a new song and video out currently called “I Will”. I wanted to share that with you and introduce you to him if you don’t know him already. Check out his video and then be sure to go like his Facebook Page and follow him on Twitter!

Here’s the video for “I Will”