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”

Beverley Elliott From TV to Stage Proves You can do it ALL

I recently worked at a convention for the television show Once Upon A Time appropriately called Regal Con. I was able to work with Lee Arenberg and Emillie de Ravin and I was afforded the absolute pleasure of interviewing Beverley Elliott (Granny) as well as Michael Coleman (Happy). I have to say that Beverley was everything you think Granny would be and MORE. She is a strong woman who truly listens to her fans and understands what they are going through. She is very grateful for all she has and she loves Once Upon A Time as much as we do!

Beverley also has a wonderful sense of humor, a truly lovely family, and is talented in so many ways. She writes her own shows and music, she performs, and she finds time to make a few movies in her down time.

Here is our interview (Michael’s will be coming shortly). I would like to take the time to thank Beverley for being so gracious that entire weekend and for allowing me a chance to get to know her a little better! Also, thanks to Regal Con, Laurie Mahoney, and FangirlOnTheRun for organizing the interviews!

Q: I wanted to ask you about your experience with your fans at a conventions such as this one (Regal Con). What draws YOU to a convention?

Beverley Elliott: I might have said this in another way already today but it’s the truth so I’m going to tell you. This is my fourth convention, I think. What I’ve learned, and I had no idea, I thought it was just entertainment that we were doing. Once Upon A Time, shear entertainment. But what I’ve learned and what I love is that fans come and share their stories with me. Why they watch the show, why it’s important, why it has affected their life or even saved their life. How it has been a huge part of their healing or grieving process. Young girls, specifically, that have had troubles at school or troubles in their family who have been hurting themselves or bulimic or something that have found strength in one of the characters in the show or more because the women are written so strong in Once Upon A Time. What the writers did for this show is that they changed the idea of what a princess was. As far as finding my prince charming and finding my Prince Charming and live happily every after, which doesn’t happen.. EVER… And they’re strong warrior women with real life problems and they mess up and then they figure it out or they have help figuring it out. They are forgiven and accepted again and they move on, just like life. We mess up in life and we are all just trying to do our best. I think the fact that these stories are being told in that way, it’s really empowering people. We all can have a happy ending, every single person can have that happy ending. We have to do the work on our parts and mess up and learn. Make it happen and keep believing.

That’s what I find has been so surprising about conventions like this is having people just pour their hearts out to me and I LOVE it. And I’m there to hear it because it makes me realize that it’s not just entertainment.

Q: I’ve noticed that you’ve done movies on Lifetime and networks like that. Do you think the growth of cable networks such as these for women are bringing roles that are good for women? Perhaps creating new opportunities for actors to portray women in a strong light?

B.E.: Totally, absolutely. Yes, yes, yes. I work in theater too and it’s a known fact that the majority of people who buy theater tickets are women over 35 because they want to see stories for women. I think TV networks are starting to realize that so many women are watching TV and they want to see their stories. A lot of the women are older, the baby boomers are getting older so we can’t watch the young stories, they just don’t speak to us. We have more life experience. So the fact that these networks and cable TV are starting to address that and starting to put it out there, it’s great, it’s really great because you just want to see yourself reflected.

Even though Once Upon A Time has two primary writers that are men, the women have been represented in such a strong way.

Q: You work on TV, theater, film and sing. Do you have a favorite?

B.E.: They all feed each other so much, it’s great. It’s actually really great. I just did a one woman show that I wrote and I sing 6 songs and tell 8 stories. It was a pick of the Fringe Festival in Vancouver and I’m doing it at 2 other theaters and going to another Fringe Festival. I’m on stage for 80 minutes so that’s pretty fabulous. To tell my own stories that I wrote and sing songs that I wrote, hold the stage for that long and get standing ovations, that’s intent feedback.

Working on Once Upon A Time or a television show, this one in particular because there’s just so much reward. It’s such a good high profile show to be a part of and the cast is just stellar. And then you get to come to conventions like this one.

I just did a Lifetime film where I played someone something wacky. Cigarette smoking, drinking, barking at everyone. I can’t say I can pick one over the other.

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

B.E.: Oh, my God… wish we could all live without. You know what came to my mind, it’s not the real answer but it’s how the brain goes.. Peanut Butter! That’s what I got! .. I hate that it’s food.I would say kindness or love… HUMOR… I couldn’t live without humor, I’d die if it’s all too serious.

What do I wish we could all live without, guns. We could all live without plastic too.

Q: With all the kids that watch the show, do you have a message for kids out there who might be feeling a little lost in their lives, who are being bullied or having a hard time at home?

B.E.: You are loved, you are not alone. If you’re not in the company of those who believe in you, just keep reaching out because eventually you’ll find someone who see who you are, who hears your story. In turn, you’ll pay that forward. I think that’s how it works.

Q: What’s up next for you, besides the new season of Once Upon A Time?

B.E.: Once Upon A Time, we go back July 7th. I am taking a week in the summer and going to Edmonton (that’s in Canada) to do my one woman show again. I’m going to Ontario to visit my family before we go back. I just did a Lifetime and a Hallmark movie. Probably going to a barn with my daughter, she rides horses so I’m going to watch her ride. I’m going to write another show, another one woman show. I’m going to sing at the Leo Awards which is like the Emmys.