Aris Has his Voice on the Pulse of Some Hot Tunes

I’m always honored to be asked to review the work of my artist friends. ESPECIALLY when I’m already a fan of their work. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been listening to Aris Ziagos’ new album Pulse on repeat since it came out last month. To be honest, it has been on repeat in a mix that includes Donna summer, Lady Gaga, and Tina Turner.

The moment I heard clips of the songs and a few full songs in a car ride with Aris, I immediately thought of Donna Summer. This actually began my renewed desire to throw on a few of my favorite Donna hits. The first single from Pulse has been out for a while now and it has been making me want to move since first hearing it. I have said that I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve probably listened to it but I am someone who has at least one ear bud in my ear even while I’m working. A good beat keeps me going and in a good mood no matter how much work I have to do or how intense it is.

I listen to very few albums all the way through without pushing past a few songs, even from my favorite mainstream artists so when I can thrown on one album and listen all the way through that is saying a lot. Pulse is definitely a collection of songs that is good for a long car ride, a hike, a workout, or just while you are cleaning and cooking.

The first song, Love (Thank you) features artist Paula Cole. It remind me immediately of Donna Summer’s hit I Feel Love with it’s sexy, breathy repetition and underlying sexy rhythm. Rain is a storm of emotion, desire, passion, and pain. I’ve said I felt like he was in my diary at some point, especially when I hear this one. It just feels that personal and I think it will to many people.

Speaking of Donna Summer, the title track has a sample of I Feel Love and I can actually hear Donna performing this one with approval. Handle It is definitely for anyone who has been wronged by a lover or just not appreciated for who they are. To me, it sounds like a dare to handle me in all my fabulousness if you think you can. But if you can’t, well the hell with you. It is reminiscent of a Beyonce empowerment piece. Basically, take me for what I am or everything you own will be in a box to the left.

Next, I want to talk about the Reborn remix. I do enjoy a good remix, especially when it is different version of the song that brings a new way to enjoy it. This remix does that for me by giving it a new beat. Make sure you check it all out for yourself at Aris’ website and follow him on social media because you are also going to want to check out his covers.

With Tony Luu Consistency Is Key

Tony Luu is one of YouTube’s most talented artists and for obvious reasons. When I listen to his music, I can hear a soul much older than he is in years. I can hear his music being played on top 40 radio stations and with his personality, I can see how he has amassed such a loyal fan base.
Tony has been busy not only starting a career in music but with creating a brand for himself. I’ve said it before and I whole-heartedly believe each of us is a brand. There is an art to building one, which Tony seems to have a handle on. I must say, I was quite impressed with him, his philosophy, his work ethic, and his authenticity.
We could learn a bit from Tony Luu by listening to his music, visiting his website and heading to his social media pages. I’m also proud to say, I believe we can learn a bit from his interview as well:
Q: Tell me a little about your childhood. Was music always a part of your life? 
Tony Luu: Ever since Elementary school I’ve always had a passion for music. My favorite subjects in my childhood school years were music and art. Every Monday morning we would spend an hour class singing in the auditorium with the piano teacher. That was most definitely my favorite part of the school week.
Q: What does music and being a musician mean to you?
TL: Music is an expression of character for me. I enjoy singing and building my brand as a musician. My message to the world is “You can do anything you choose to do”
Q: Who are some artists you admired growing up?
TL: When I was about 12 years old is when I started to listen to a variety of music. One artist/performer who really inspired me was Chris Brown. I’ve been watching his moves since he was only 16 years old.
Q: What writers and performers would you like to work with?
TL: There are so many different professionals I’d love to work with in the near future. My favorite artists of lately have been Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, and The Weeknd.
Q: If you weren’t in the music business, what other fields interest you?
TL: Music will always be my number one passion, but I am also very fascinated by the business world. In the past year of 2015 I have spent a lot of my time traveling being able to meet highly successful business owners & real estate investors. That specific lane is definitely one that interests me.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
TL: I can absolutely not live without my family and close friends. They are the fuel behind my success. They are the reason why I continue to achieve the goals that I set. One thing I wish we could all live without is hatred, envy, and greed. There is too much love to spread around for people to focus on the negative. Love is what should ultimately overcome. That’s one important way we can make the world a better place.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from who?
TL: The best advice I’ve received was from my manager Reggie Batts. He is a successful worldwide speaker and business coach. One of the subjects he speaks upon is “overcoming fear”. Fear is all made up in your mind, so if you believe you can achieve…just go for it! It’s better to take a chance, rather than regretting you didn’t take the chance later on.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever given? Do you normally take your own advice?
TL: “Consistency is key”
In any industry there will always be countless numbers of competition. The way to beat the competition is to be consistent with your brand, and have a strategy behind achieving your goals.
Q: What are some family traditions you look forward to with the holidays right around the corner?
TL: My birthday is December 27th, so every year that I am in town with my family we have a huge Christmas & Birthday party. It’s my favorite part of the year because that’s when my whole family gets together to enjoy our time and love for each other.
Q: What are some of your goals for the coming year?
TL: In 2016 one of my goals is to gain the fullest possible momentum in my music career, and keep at the consistent fast pace of releasing music & visuals.
Another goal of mine is to touch base in the real estate & business world.
Q: Do you have a wish for us all as a race as we enter a new year?
TL: I wish for everyone to have the best year of their lives in 2016. That includes financials, relationships, careers, health, and more! I believe it’s very important to hold your head high with confidence, believing you can do anything you set yourself out to do! A little work today brings greater rewards tomorrow.

Allow Aris to Raise your Pulse with his Music

I have been friends with recording artist and performer Aris for a few years now. I enjoy the conversations we have off the record but am honored to be interviewing him so you all can get to know him a bit better! Since the first time I sat down to talk to him, I have found him to be insightful, authentic, and passionate about his work. As a fan of music, I find him to be unique, talented, and genuine as an artist. I believe those of you who read my blog, follow me on Twitter or anywhere in social media will enjoy his music as well. If you live in the NYC area, you may want to catch him at one of his upcoming performances as well!
Q: First, congratulations on the new album, Pulse! Tell me a little about the process of making this album and your process in general when creating new music.

Aris: Thank you Tommy!! I feel like I’m having a baby! I’ve been working on this album for the last year and a half. I started writing it when I finished writing my last album “Twilight Revival”. I set out with the goal to write an album that would celebrate love and life and keep people on their feet dancing.

My last album was more of a rock record with dance elements, where this album is primarily a dance album, weaving in rock, soul and world sounds. I set out to right a really universal, uplifting album. The last album was written while I was going through a lot of heartbreak and stresses in life, so the themes were darker. I wanted this album to be a solace, a shinning light. I channeled a lot of 90s pop and dance influences, soul music and eastern soundscapes. There’s a lot of soaring hooks and big choruses, and really emotional vocals.

I set out to keep the lyrics more universal, and for every track to move not only your heart and soul but also your
body. Even the slower tracks are built around solid grooves. I named the album Pulse because our heart and our pulse
are our body’s drum, carrying us through the rhythm of life. In the past I’ve let the songs have more space to fall
into other genres, but this time around I wanted a thematic record that would work great live and on the dance floor,
and I drew elements of inspiration from albums like Madonna’s “Confession on a Dancefloor” and Kelis’ “Fleshtone”.
Q: I know you have a Kickstarter for this album. What goodies are you offering fans who contribute? Where can we find out more about it?

Aris: Yes! I have  3 weeks left on my Kickstarter campaign (ending on February 21st!)

I’m utilizing the platform to help finish funding and distribution of the record, and I’m using it as an album pre-sale.
I’m also offering a variety of special merchandise and experiences for higher pledges.
I’m offering a deluxe digital album with several exclusive bonus tracks, and also offering original pieces of art,
private concerts, songwriting sessions, even home cooked meals, nights on the town, and all access passes for life to
all my live shows.
Every pledge of $20 or more also comes with a “best of” EP, and there’s a bunch more goodies too!
You can join the pre-sale, get a sneak peek of some new music and find out more at:

Q: How important is crowdfunding for today’s artists and have you seen it change in the last few years?

Aris: Crowdfunding is a huge platform for independent artists. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of artists use sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to back their albums, generate buzz and also connect with their fans and offer a special pre-sale experience.

Someone actually  raised $55,492 on Kickstarter to make Potato Salad! It’s hard to grasp that, but it actually happened! In comparison,  my goal to make and distribute my new album “Pulse” is far more modest, and it will last much longer and be more universal than any combination of potatoes and mayonnaise!

For me as an independent artist, I’ve self-funded all my work every step of the way for the last 5 years. In that
time, the music industry has changed so much, and few people actually purchase music. This Kickstarter is a huge help
to me in that it allows me to actually have a budget for recording the album, to do it in a timely fashion, and to be
able to give the recordings value via the pre-sale. It also allows my listeners to be a part of the process from early on.
Q: More Congratulations are in order on your OUTMusic Award nominations, can you tell me a little about why it was important to you and how it felt to be recognized by such an organization?
Aris: When I found out I was nominated in 5 categories at the 9th annual OUTmusic awards, I was beyond thrilled . It was a

huge honor to have the work from my last album “twilight revival” recognized. I was most moved by the nomination for
producer of the year. The organization in the past has honored a lot of prominent LGBT artists, and to me being
nominated felt like the community understood and appreciated what I’m doing. It felt like coming home.
Q: The honor was sort of bitter-sweet. I’ve read that they were charging the artists $100 per ticket but that the 

event was postponed without a new date. We’ve spoken about it but can you tell us a little about that?
Aris: Yes, it was definitely bittersweet. Shortly after the nominees were announced, the artists involved received an email

from the organization telling us we had to purchase $100 “nominee tickets” or else we would not be allowed to walk the
red carpet, to sit with the other nominees or to be featured in the documentary the organization was filming.
Something felt very wrong about paying the highest ticket premium to be in attendance to possibly win an award. It
seemed really lob sided especially since they were selling general admission tickets for $25.
Many artists like myself took the risk because sometimes as independent musicians you have to invest in things hoping
they carry you further. It was money I otherwise would have spent recording new music, but it seemed like it could be
a good promotional opportunity.
It really was a huge shock and very alarming when an email came roughly 24 hours before the event saying it was
postponed until an undetermined date, for reasons not disclosed, and that the organization would NOT be issuing
refunds. This actually wasn’t the first time that the OUTmusic awards were postponed, and there seems to be a trail of
murky business practices in the past, so it’s all very disheartening.
Q: Do you think they took advantage of the artists so that they could afford to hold a different ceremony that they held for bigger names like Deborah Cox? I’m sure the bigger names would not be happy if they knew these circumstances.
Aris: I wish I knew the real motivations of the organization and I wish there was a lot more transparency about how the

money they collected was spent.  It was very disappointing to find out that in place of the awards ceremony, the
organization would be having a “reception for the celebrity artists, such as OUTMusic Award Honoree Deborah Cox and
Monifah Carter, Omar Thomas and superstar recording artist Jonte Moaning as well as many others who journeyed to New
York City for the Awards.” (to quote the official email from OUTmusic)
What’s most upsetting about what happened is, none of the actual nominees were celebrated, and instead the focus was
put on “celebrity” artists the organization hand-selected. Since we really don’t have any transparency about their accounting
practices, we can only speculate that the nominees’ money went to fund this other event.  Also OUTmusic claims non-profit
status, but when looking into their organization, it becomes clear that they may be fudging their taxes and
involved in unethical business practices. I think it’s sad that an organization that frames itself as champions of LGBT
artists would take advantage of the very artists it was supposed to be celebrating. I seem to have been one of the
most out-spoken artists regarding this situation, and it’s also caught the eye of former Village Voice columnist
Michael Musto. Hopefully soon we will all be able to get to the truth about what really happened and why.
Q: What do you think artists can do to avoid being taken advantage of or do you think this is all part of the business and learning process?
Aris: I think the best lesson to be learned is, do NOT pay to play. And do your research! Google is an amazing tool to help

artists understand the validity and reputation of organizations/groups/etc. Before getting involved in something, do
your homework! Also, never lower or diminish your self worth to be included in anything!
Sell up, don’t sell out. Choose your partnerships and associations wisely!
There’s a certain level of investment that comes with the territory of being an artist. Just make sure you are
investing in something that is honorable, effective and beneficial!
Q: What else is coming up for Aris, the artist? Performances? Appearances?
Aris: I’ll be spending the next couple months finalizing my new album and preparing the release of the first single and

video from the album, along with putting together several photo shoots to accompany the release.
I also have some upcoming performances in the next 6 weeks in NYC that I am excited about!
* Friday February 13th at BPM in NYC (time TBA)
* Sunday March 1st at the LGBT expo at the Jacob Javits Center (time TBA)
* Friday March 6th at Triad in NYC (time and additional info soon to be announced)
(Updates regarding these appearances will be posted on my official website at www.aris.fm)
Q: Where can we find you online to keep up with you and your music?
Aris: I’ll be sharing updated about my upcoming album “Pulse” on social media, as well as on Kickstarter.  I also archive

everything on my official website. Connect with me! Share your voice, your feelings and your stories. I read
everything!

Richie Nuzz Wants to Encourage you to BEiMMACULATE

It’s no secret that I LOVE a good convention AND my very favorites are organized by the EyeCon family! This past March, I was honored to attend the very first EyeCon Teen Wolf convention with members of the cast of the MTV hit show. If you have never attended a fan convention of any kind, I suggest you try one as soon as you can. If you have but haven’t tried an EyeCon event, I truly encourage you to look into it. You will NOT be sorry.
The best part about these conventions is they attract the most genuine people who are gathered to share a common love of whatever fandom they belong to. Everyone is welcomed into the group and seriously great friendships are made each time.  At this particular convention in March they were highlighting the cast of the MTV show, Teen Wolf and I met a most genuine and amazing artist by the name of Richie Nuzz.
Richie is more than just a musician, he is a man with a vision, a goal, and a positive movement for his fans. He encourages people to BEiMMACULATE in a time where we desperately need positive role models and a push in the right direction. He is someone who knows he can use his talent as well as his influence to have a huge impact on people and he chooses to make it one based on goodness. He has been involved in all aspects of the business from modeling to dancing and is even a classically trained Jazz Musician.
I thoroughly enjoy following Richie Nuzz on Twitter and Facebook because he always has the most positive messages, posts, pictures, and words of wisdom. I encourage all of you to head over to his social sites right after you read our interview:
Q: After researching you, all I can think is WOW, real Renaissance man here! Tell me a little about your history from modeling to fitness, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, music. You are also a classically trained Jazz Musician, and an actor (Sex in the City 2). Which do you identify with most?
Richie Nuzz: Thank​ you, growing up I loved many things as I do now. Everyone growing up told me to focus on one thing. I love the fact that I can say I pursue many of my passions. Music is my focus and my true love. Being known as a musician fits me best. There is something about music that never fades or dies out. To leave something behind and  change how a person feels is by far the bigger picture for me.
Q: You seem to have started a very positive movement with your fans through your music. What is #BEiMMACULATE all about?
RN: My fans​ are what I live for. There is a big gap in music these days, especially in the message that is being perceived. BEiMMACULATE is my brand and way of life.
When people say “Have a good day”, I reply with the most uplifting response, Have an IMMACULATE day. It is a standard for us all to strive for.
It is based off 3 points.
1. Believe in yourself
2. Believe in your dream
3.Pursue your passion
Q: What do you say to fans who have a hard time staying positive? With so much going on like bullying, peer pressure, and depression, it can be hard for people to accept a positive outlook sometimes.
RN: ​I tell my fans what they know already, but need reminding. I play the role of a mentor and idol to many. I take this responsibility seriously and try to give my fans as much back as I can. My music  is filled with words that make up my own life. Shine was written to remind.  Remind  that we as human beings are very powerful individuals and are born with the qualities to manifest our destiny​s.
Q: I met you at an EyeCon event for fans of the show Teen Wolf. Was that your first convention? What do you think about the energy and passion of the attendees and actors?
RN: EyeCon was my first! The energy was incredible and all good vibes. Its an incredible thing to have so many friendly people come together. It was an honor to perform  and be invited back for HALLOWEEN!​
Q: Speaking of passion, energy, and fans – your music is not only inspirational, one might say it’s pretty sexy too. What reactions do you get from fans when you meet them and perform for them?
RN: ​I like to think of my EP as a journey of emotions. It tells a story from start to finish. My fans are fortunately all so different and unique in their own ways. The love and support I get back is just beautiful. Its always a nice feeling when fans are excited to meet me. Nothing is better then meeting someone new.​
Q: How important is Social Media to your career and in your everyday life?
RN: Social media is very important to me since I have such an awesome global fan base. The technology these days are just incredible. Keeping my fans up to date while communicating from anywhere around the world is what I live for. I get much satisfaction hearing back from fans and hearing how they are doing and how my music has related to them.
Q: Where can we find you and your music online?
​RN: My music is for the most part everywhere! I like to keep in touch personally with all my fans. I direct my fans to my website www.richienuzz.com​.
My music is available on iTunes, spottily, over 20 distributors worldwide. When my fans purchase my music from my site, they are granted access to THE iMMACULATE LEGION. I give out my personal number for fans to text me. I make my supporters and believers, my priority.
Q: I notice you like to travel, as I do. What is your favorite place? Where do you feel most at home?
RN: I love traveling! I look forward to the months I will be on the road on the tour bus:) As I am from NYC, lived in LA, now ATL.. I feel the southeast is HOME.
There is a comfort I feel out here and I think this is the place I want to grow as an artist and create my vision.
Q: What’s up next for Richie Nuzz? 
RN: Currently I am In  THE ONE contest for THE ONE MUSIC FEST in Atlanta. The festival holds over 15k in the audience! Right now I am in 4th place out of 45 independent, unsigned artist to be selected to rock out on stage! Voting is now for the next two weeks so  its crunch time:) I also got some immaculate news that I will be performing for the EyeCon convention this year with vampire diaries!
Don’t forget to vote for Richie here: http://theone2014.onemusicfest.com/applicants/richie-nuzz-1

Throuple is the Little Drama that Should and Could with your help

I have known James Townsend for a few years now as an artist and photographer but I was recently introduced to another side of him, Filmmaker. I came across some information about a film he is trying to fund called “Throuple” when I found a group he has on Facebook.
The concept of the “Throuple” is fascinating to me from a psychological standpoint because relationships have changed so much and continue to do so all the time. Traditional values may not work for some people while for others it is all they are comfortable with. Is there a right and wrong or does it depend on the individuals involved and the circumstances?
I was very happy to be able to interview James about it since this is the first time we have really gotten to talk in depth and I was interested to learn more about him as well as “Throuple”.
Q: Throuple was originally a 2007 project. Can you tell me a little about what happened that stalled it and why you decided to resurrect it?
JT: THROUPLE began in late 2007 as a small character drama centered on what attributes define, make and break a relationship. At the time, I had just wrapped production on another psychological-thriller, A SIREN IN THE DARK, and THROUPLE was to be a quick little project to stir some creative drive until a larger project would move forward. The original idea of THROUPLE had been there from the start. Some of the story was sparked from personal experiences with cheating boyfriends of the past and the conflict of having been in a long-term relationship previously with someone myself, but knowing I was still in love with someone else outside of things. While I had the basic plot in focus, there was still a lot to be explored by it. I wanted the film to be small, intimate and even claustrophobic, with its minimal locations and next-to-nothing list of characters… think Richard Linklater’s “TAPE”… or Roman Polanski’s “Carnage”– pieces that resulted in great tension and character breakdowns without much overall action… 

In trying to bring the story full circle, my friend Caleb Carter got involved. We had a lot of similar tastes in film and in turn, our storytelling meshed well. With Caleb, as a co-writer, the film started taking a darker twist, allowing it to meander from reality to dream, present to past and future, in a more philosophical yet nightmarish way…

Originally we had very little budget for THROUPLE… We had cast and crew working for meal/credit and hopefully deferred pay. We were filming it on nonconsecutive days in our spare time when we were able to get everyone together based on their work schedules, etc. We were paying for everything needed from our own pockets. Needless to say, it was a difficult task and wore people thin on patience. We were having to cut a lot of corners due to certain agreements falling through with locations originally offered for free, having people simply not show up to help out as promised for various reasons etc. It got to the point that we actually built the recurring “dive-bar” in the story, in my living room, since the location we had planned to use backed out… THROUPLE was really pulling at our creative drive and making us utilize what we had on mere pennies. 

We reached the point that we had about three days of filming left, and we found ourselves at a stand-still… People had left town for work or vacations, school had started back up again– I was moving to a new apartment, which became a huge obstacle, as 90% of the film took place in my current residence… With so many holes in our path, we decided to take a breather. 
With everyone being so busy with conflicting schedules, it was difficult to get back on track but we knew it had to be done. We were so close to being finished. Several months passed and I wound up calling Caleb specifically about the film and we brainstormed on how we could make it work, being that we no longer had access to the original apartment, etc. We decided to just utilize what we had, establish in the story that the characters had moved or whatnot– implement some lines and a scene or two to warrant such changes… We were going to make it work. Caleb seemed energized and ready to go. I immediately started putting word out to those involved, so that we could schedule things out… It never panned out.

About a week or so later, in February 2009, I logged onto Facebook one morning as I always do and stumbled upon some posts… Caleb had passed away. Over the next few days, more would come forward about his death… he had taken his own life. I instantly lost interest in the film. We had lost one of our lead actors, and more importantly a good friend…

Over the years, THROUPLE, has come in and out of my mind. At some point we did try to finish it by pulling a David Lynch type trick and having characters change identity so that we could finish their roles with new actors. It was a disaster and I shelved the project feeling that it would be unfair on too many levels to pull such an antic.

For the past year or so, the film hadn’t really crossed my mind much. But, recently I found an original hardcopy of the script in a box I was going through. It had all of our handwritten notes, doodles, inside jokes, etc. scribbled on its pages. I sat down to read it, following along with the notes included. I just had this huge urge to make it all come to reality… with a new cast and a few rewrites and needed updates. I hope to move forward… to make the film from start to finish with the budget and attention it deserves… while being able to show some of the original footage, behind the scenes moments, etc. to shed light on the history of the project and bring it to a close properly… That strong urge do to get it produced and released feels a lot like Caleb yelling at me to simply do so! 

Q: The concept of Throuple is about three people getting into a romantic relationship. Do you think that such a thing is possible without it getting complicated or someone getting hurt?
JT: Everyone is different on their ideas of love and relationships. I have known most people to believe that strictly one partner is the correct thing… Yet, others believe in open-relationships… And, I’ve even known some that believe in “sets” (whereas there are multiple partners all under one roof and everyone belongs to everyone). For me, I can’t say anything but one person at a time would work romantically. But, there are so many different forms of love and understanding when it comes to relationships, that some of these less common make-ups could definitely work better for others…
In THROUPLE you see these characters move forward with what seems to be one-on-one relationships… But, as the layers are pulled back, things are not quite what they seem. They sort of find themselves in this forced situation of “love” as they are unable to define what it is one or the other wants. There is a lot of compromise involved that leads to people getting hurt, going behind each others’ backs, manipulating events for their own attention, etc.
Every relationship has moments of hurt and jealousy and complication… Nothing is ever perfect. With THROUPLE, we see that from the one-on-one on into the “permanent threesome” (as some have called it) that occurs. However, how it pans out in the end– that is all up to the individual and their own personal beliefs and paths of love. 
Q: Do you think the theme of the film is more controversial because it is about three homosexual men? Do you think it would be less so if it were two men and one woman or two women and one man?
JT: We tend to only really see these sort of “threesome” relationships when it comes to comedy films. Even then, it is usually a case of trying to keep “so and so” a secret from one another… I really can’t think of a film that has explored such subject matter in a dark psychological way as THROUPLE attempts to do.
As for all male… or two women and one man… or vice versa… Hate to say it, but society is still more accepting of such a plot or relationship device if it is a mix of man-woman.
THROUPLE would be controversial on any level though as it does explore relationships with more than one person involved, cheating, addiction, abuse, and some other dark and twisted things we shall keep as a surprise! 
Q: Do you think we will ever see a day where art is not described as “gay themed”? Are we making strides in the direction where all films would be human stories?
JT: “Gay Themed” has basically become its own film genre. While there are so many facets to it– comedy, drama, horror and everything in between, it still seems that if you have gay characters or plot lines, a lot of people are still going to refer to it as “that gay movie”. I do think it is getting better though… the ‘gay themed’ tag doesnt seem to be as prevalent as it was a few years ago. Even despite all the critical and audience acclaim for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN the joke or reference of “that gay movie” was very strong… Today, you have films like THE NORMAL HEART sweeping the Emmy nominations and getting the same critical acclaim but the tag of “gay themed” has seemed to lesson. Perhaps people are starting to focus more on the actual storylines rather than just the sexuality of the characters. 
I think as long as “gay themed” films focus on creating well rounded characters, rather than stereotypes, and allow themselves to tell stories that could easily be told with a straight cast as well, we break out of that box of categorization that we were put into. For so long, it seemed that the gay character always had to be the closeted or flamboyant guy, trying on his best girl friends shoes and delivering every line with sass. Films are getting away from that… There are more and more films where the gay character are real life, well-rounded, everyday representations… The gay characters are slowly but surely being written and portrayed not as “characters” but as believable, real life people… 
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Indie artists and projects today? Has it gotten easier as time has gone on and people have become more familiar with crowd-funding?
JT: Technology! The technological advancements have been amazing and yet at the same time, they have made the indie world of film so much more difficult on so many levels. As cameras and other equipment get smaller and more powerful, and even more inexpensive compared to years ago, it seems that anyone and everyone that has a camera is out there producing content. It has gotten very competitive because with so many positive attributes of today’s technological advancements, it is really easy to put together a web series, or get some friends together and make a film on limited funds, etc. The need to have huge trailers of equipment and large crews etc is diminishing in many levels for film. Another facet is distribution! DVD sales are far from being as successful as they were just a few short years ago. So many things are going digital and V.O.D.– people are not buying films in a tangible medium like they used to. So, profits are obviously down. And, with so many low budget films being made so quickly and easily, the options are much greater… Distributors are feeling the crunch too. Rather than invest to produce actual original content, they are relaying on pre-made films that they can scoop up from the festival circuit and license cheaply for distribution…
With crowd-funding, there seems to be an over saturation. Going onto social media, it seems everyone is crowdfunding for something these days. I admire the people that set out, do it and make it happen, for creative causes or things more important like health matters, etc. But, as crowdfunding becomes more and more popular, a lot of people are using it as a quick money maker and it is turning away a lot of people that have lost patience for it. For, now we have college kids funding their spring break vacations and people making $50,000 for raising funds for potato salad. It has become a joke, or sort of a competition in a way– like, what stupid idea can we do to make money?! It can be very frustrating to see some guy post a potato-salad joke and bring in endless cash… while you see struggling artists and people in even more important need, raking in a few pennies despite their drive, talent, and passion  or overall need. 
Q: Where can we find you, James Townsend, online?
JT: Oh, I am not hard to find. Simply google my name or “JTownsendPhotos” and I usually turn up a lot of pages… 
For photography, we my official site is down you can find me on Tumblr (http://jtownsendphotos.tumblr.com) as well as related sites such as ModelMayhem and OneModelPlace…
Facebook: facebook.com/jtownsendphotos
Q: Where can we find out more information about Throuple and donate to the campaign?
JT: THROUPLE’S official facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/ThroupleMovie
Our indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/throuple–4/x/33566 
Q: I know you have other projects going on and you are also into photography. Anything to share on those fronts? 
JT: The most recent project was a horror-comedy entitled KISSING DARKNESS. I wrote and directed the film and it starred Sean Paul Lockhart and Ronnie Kroell. It is newly available on Amazon. I hope to have more information on its overall distribution/release soon!
Aside from that, I am also in preproduction for a comedic webseries entitled DOG HAUS (
https://www.facebook.com/doghausseries ) . It is in association with LA Based clothing company WhiteyTighties.com and follows the antics of a gay couple that find themselves out of work unexpectedly. In a chain of comic events, they wind up launching a hot-dog company and things get even more complicated. It’s like THE ODD COUPLE meets 2 BROKE GIRLS! We are currently recasting a few roles and then hope to film our pilot and launch crowdfunding for the rest of the season, which we have planned at 10 episodes, within the next several weeks. 
While all this is happening, I am available for photographic needs!!! Check out some of my photography at:http://jtownsendphotos.tumblr.com and/or follow me on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/JTownsendPhotosPage (note the Tumblr gets updated almost daily, but it does contain some NSFW photographs!!!)