Category: Interviews

Maddie Ziegler & Giacomo Gianniotti Interviews at My Friend’s Place 2019

maddie ziegler Giacomo Gianniotti my friends place

@maddieziegler @GiacomoKG #myfriendsplace

TWK interviewer Keira Pena talks to Maddie Ziegler @maddieziegler and Giacomo Gianniotti at the My Friend’s Place Gala 2019, a fundraising celebration to support youth homelessness prevention programs.

http://myfriendsplace.org/

Host: Keira Pena http://instagram.com/keirapena

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Issie Methven: 15-year-old making a splash in London theater!

issie methven

Issie (Isabelle) Methven just turned 15 a few weeks ago, but you wouldn’t guess it from her long list of prestigious London theater credits including her professional West End theatre debut as Little Cosette in Les Miserables, Summer Hathaway in Original UK Cast of School of Rock, Jane Banks in Mary Poppins, and Brigitte Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and several acting roles with the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

She’s also got a few screen credits, including an upcoming film, and hopes to have a shot at Broadway some day. With her training at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, a leading school for a lot of young British performers, she’s sure to have a good chance!

Let’s find out more about her!

issie methven

Hi Issie, nice to e-meet you! Tell us a little bit about yourself apart from your life in show biz.

I’m 15 and live in Hertfordshire, England. I live with my Mum, and my brother. I’m really lucky as I go to a school for performing arts in central London, which means I spend 3 days a week doing academic subjects (Math, Science, English, etc.) and 2 days doing vocational subjects (Ballet, Drama, Singing). When I’m not at school or working, I like to explore new places, especially on holiday!

Cool, now let’s talk some business haha! You have a ton of theater credits in the UK, from Les Mis to Annie to Sound of Music. What’s been your absolute favorite theater experience and why?

So hard to choose….I’d have to say that being the first ever Summer Hathaway in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock” was a pretty amazing experience. Being in the original cast of a show that’s so focused on the kids was the best ever. As well as performing on stage, we had some fantastic opportunities such as being part of the official launch, playing at the Olivier Awards and playing to a crowd of 10,000 at BBC Proms Party in the Park. Andrew is just the kindest man, and it was a dream to be part of one of his new shows.

issie methven

What’s been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you on stage?

I have had a few stage bloopers. My faves being when the revolving stage refused to turn round in Les Mis, and I ended up singing with my back to the audience, and more recently when I got stuck up the chimney in the “Step in Time” in Mary Poppins. Bert had to keep whistling and pacing whilst the stage hands and crew tried to get me out.😀

I understand you have a movie coming out soon, can you tell us a little about it and your character?

The movie is a modern day twist on “A Christmas Carol;” I play Ellie, the daughter of the protagonist. It was great to part of something so original, and I had the best time.

You have met a few famous people. Who has been your favorite celebrity you have met and what was that like?

My absolute favourite has to be Elton John. He was just so friendly. He could tell we were very nervous and came straight over to talk to us. Such a nice man!

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m terrified of baked beans. Don’t laugh, it’s a real phobia.

issie methven

Biggest pet peeve?

OMG chewing loudly !!!!! It drives me crazy……

The song I have on repeat on my playlist right now is __________ by ___________?

Ava Max – “So am I?” Her song has a great message and I can totally relate.

Nervous habit?

Playing with the front bit of my hair. My mum calls it the “Twiddler” and it’s a habit I’ve had since I was old enough to have hair.

Favorite food?

Oh that’s a hard one…….I’d have to say chocolate……..no, strawberries……….no definitely chocolate………..maybe both together?

Secret obsession?

Jonas brothers….? I’d love the opportunity to work with them.

What’s the last movie or show you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. SO ORIGINAL.

The one thing I cannot live without is__________?

My Mum, she supports me constantly and always picks me up when I’m down.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

I’ve had quite a few auditions over the past few weeks, from a couple of TV shows, to a West End musical. I’ve not bagged the job yet so watch this space. I really loved being on set recently, and I can’t wait for the next opportunity.

Selfie!

😀I was at school at the time.

issie methven

Sarah Abbott: teen actress on new Netflix thriller “The Silence”

sarah abbott2

Teen actress Sarah Abbott has made a splash with her lead role performance in the Lifetime movie “Mommy’s Little Princess,” where she plays Lizzy, an adopted girl who discovers she has royal blood and takes on the persona of a princess from hell.

Coming up next, she can be seen in the feature film The Silence, a “A Quiet Place”-style thriller set to premiere on Netflix April 12 and starring Kiernan Shipka, Stanley Tucci, Miranda Otto and John Corbett. Sarah plays “The Hushed Child,” one in a group of survivors who have cut out their tongues to stay safe from monsters that hunt by sound (ouch).

As if that weren’t enough for a 13-year-old, she will also be appearing in the new NBC series The InBetween! We asked Sarah a few questions about The Silence and to get to know her a little better — read on for her exclusive Q&A with Teens Wanna Know!

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Hi Sarah, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your work as an actress, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! Thank you! I’m 13 years old. I live in Ontario, Canada. I have been acting since I was 6 years old and I also do competitive dance.

Cool! You seem to be on an amazing roll lately, as your Lifetime movie Mommy’s Little Princess just came out, which you’ve gotten good reviews for, and now The Silence is coming out on Netflix April 12. What’s your secret to working so many great projects at such a young age?

My agent and his team are always searching for great roles for me, but then it’s up to me to put in the hard work and do my best performance at each audition. I can only try my best and then move on to the next audition and hope for the best.

Tell us about The Silence and your character.

The Silence is about these creatures that attack and kill anything that makes sound. To survive, you need to adapt and live in a world without making any noise. I think my character is a nice person who is put in a difficult situation and does her best to handle it.

Silly question—but since your character is part of a group of people who don’t speak so they don’t attract monsters, was the set really really quiet all the time?

Yes, that was kind of funny now that you mention it.

What stands out most from filming that the movie?

I filmed in very eerie and creepy settings which really helped to establish the mood. I also was able to witness some of the magic of movie making that makes the unreal appear real on screen.

You have another show called The InBetween coming out on NBC. What can you tell us about that?

It’s about a woman who can see and talk with ghosts. She tries to help the ghosts with their problems and also help the police to solve crimes. I play a character named Abigail. I can’t really say too much about my role in the series. I guess you’ll have to tune in to see.

You worked with Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster, who directed you in Black Mirror. What most surprised you about working with her?

She was so down to earth and friendly. Also being a former child star herself, I found her so easy to understand when she gave me direction.

So far, what’s been the most memorable thing you have experienced as a young actress?

There are so many. We already mentioned Black Mirror, but it was also incredibly special when my first film called Lavender premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. I walked the red carpet, did interviews and even signed my first autograph. That was very cool.

Have you ever gotten starstruck with any of the big names you have worked with? Please dish!

LoL, yes. It’s a show coming out this summer, but I can’t talk about it yet. I totally stumbled on my lines because I was so nervous, but I took a breath and regained my focus. I was just talking about that moment with my dad the other day.

Showbiz can be fun, but also tough because it’s a serious job. What’s the one thing you DON’T like about being in the business?

I’m still a kid so I love to have sleepovers and play with my friends. Sometimes, I miss out on those things when I need to memorize lines for an audition, but I love being an actor, so it’s totally worth it!

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

In addition to acting, I’m also a dancer on a competitive dance team. I have 9 different dances to learn this season and I will be going to 5 competitions.

sarah abbott2

Biggest pet peeve?

People who crack their knuckles. That sound drives me crazy.

The song I most have on repeat on my playlist right now is_____________.

Imagine by Ariana Grande.

Favorite food?

Any kind of pasta

Secret obsession?

Toy Squishies. I just love squeezing them.

What’s the last movie or show you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review 🙂

Grey’s Anatomy. Very intense

If you could pass a law everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?

Be kind and accept people for who they are.

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

When I messed up my lines in front of a certain star which I cannot name. LOL.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

As you mentioned, I have the movie The Silence on Netflix followed by the TV series The InBetween on NBC. I also have something else coming out this summer on Netflix but I can’t reveal anything yet. Right now I’m back to doing auditions and excited to start something new.

Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!

Sure, here is a picture of me finishing my art project for school!

sarah abbott

https://www.instagram.com/sarah_abbott_/

Who is Gavin Magnus “Crushin” on?

gavin magnus lamborghini

***MEET GAVIN THIS SATURDAY AUGUST 3rd, 2019 IN BURBANK, CA!!!***

gavin magnus meet and greet

Gavin Magnus is an American actor, singer and YouTuber who has been called “the next Justin Bieber.” He is well known on social media and for his fun videos co-starring his girlfriend Piper Rockelle, with whom he filmed a video for his first single “Crushin.” (see embed below).

Following his stint on last year’s “Boys of Summer” tour, Gavin has signed his first record deal. You can also see him on several series including Dreamworks TV, and Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles: The Comeback.

We got the chance to catch up with Gavin about crazy fan experiences, pet peeves, and the best and worst part about working with Piper in our exclusive Q&A below!

gavin magnus 3
photo by Tiffany Rockelle.

Hi Gavin, nice to e-meet you! Tell us a little bit about yourself before we start chatting about your music video and other projects.

Hi thanks for having me! I started acting at age eight; got a lead as a series regular on DreamWorks TV and then did many TV shows such as Minor Renovations and Hollywood Darlings. From there I started making music.

Thanks! Your music video “Crushin” with Piper Rockelle just came out a little while ago. Were you nervous to release it to the world, and are you happy with the feedback?

Oh gosh I was so nervous. You just don’t know the feedback until you see the comments, you know? I’m really happy with the feedback. We are almost at 3 million views in a month.

You were on the Boys of Summer Tour. What was the best part about doing that?

I miss the tour a lot. Yes, I miss touring; it was amazing. The friends I made were super cool too. It was my first time performing on stage in front of over 1,000 people and I was the youngest out there; so very intimidating at first. I fell in love with the energy of performing in front of fans. We toured 17 cities and it was so much fun seeing new places.

Any weird or crazy fan experiences yet? If so what were they?

Yes, there are so many, but I would say my favorite just happened the other day. A little girl about five years old chased me down the street with her mom yelling at her to slow down. She followed me into Hollywood Burgers. Then she came up to me and said “Are you Gavin Magnus from YouTube? I can’t believe you are real!”…and she asked for a pic. It was so cute and cool.

Do you really vacuum your hair every day? : )

HA HA sometimes it helps to get the perfect look.

gavin magnus 2
photo by Deidhra Fahey

Every young performer that puts themselves out in the world gets some shade thrown at them—how do you deal with that yourself?

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Even my mom is shocked, but I don’t let it bring me down.

What are your goals with music and acting—like where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Well to be honest all my dreams are coming true. I see myself touring and acting. I see myself developing hair products too; that’s one of my goals.

Your girlfriend Piper is pretty popular online as well – what is the best part about working together on videos – and what is the worst?

The best part is we laugh constantly. We really don’t stop and she’s my best friend. The bad part is I never want to leave her house. (:

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m really sensitive. I cry listening to sad songs. (:

Biggest pet peeve?

Fake people.

The song I most have on repeat on my playlist right now is _________ by ___________?

“All Girls Are The Same” by Juice Wrld

Favorite food?

Pasta. Italian.

Secret obsession?

My hair for sure. Gucci backpacks.

What’s the last movie or show you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

Stranger Things. Scary, intense.

If you could pass a law everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?

That they had to be kind to one another. That bullying was not allowed.

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

I was trying to be cool and someone called me out, one of the older boys on tour, before I had a real Gucci backpack and they were like “Gavin’s Gucci backpack is fake, look at the stitching” and I just turned red. I was trying to be cool.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

Stay tuned; new announcements are coming soon.

Selfie Time!

gavin magnus selfie

https://www.instagram.com/gavinmagnus/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDUx3IrrXQI0CbfKMxTCww
https://www.facebook.com/gavinmagnus/
https://twitter.com/gavinmagnus1/
http://www.gavinmagnus.com 

A Place Called Home (APCH) w/ G-Eazy, In Real Life, Kaylyn Slevin & More (Stars and Strikes)

apch g-eazy in real life

Young stars came out to help raise funds for A Place Called Home @apch2830, a charity which helps kids in South Central L.A. with arts, education and wellness to help them develop healthy, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Watch highlights, interviews, and bowling trivia! https://apch.org/

Featuring: G-Eazy, Jonathan Zeichner, Rachel Crow, Kaylyn Slevin, Ava Cantrell, Bryson Robinson, Brooklyn Robinson, Jaheem King, Joey Luthman, Connor Dean, Jillian Estell, Raquel Justice, Justin Tinucci, Paris Bravo, Savannah Liles, Ty James, KBeazy, Tanya Rad, Sisanie, Patty Rodriguez, Cisco Reyes, In Real Life, Hunter Payton, LIVVIA, Sean Ryan Petersen, Indiana Massara, Jules Coutinho, Mason Coutinho

Host: Keira Pena
http://instagram.com/keirapena

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From Star Trek Discovery to Bajillionaires: teen actress Arista Arhin’s on a roll!

Arista Arhin @aristaarhin is a Toronto native currently starring as Young Michael Burnham in Star Trek Discovery airing now on CBS. She’s also got a brand-new show premiering March 2nd called Bajillionaires. She plays Alicia Windsor, one of a group of friends running a start-up out of their parent’s garage.

This 14-year-old started as a model, doing campaigns for Spin Master, Walmart, and Hasbro. At age 10 she began her acting career, cast as Ozlyn in the award-winning children’s live action educational television series ODD SQUAD (TVOKids/PBS Kids) for which she won a 2018 Joey Award for Best Recurring or Lead Actress in a Children’s Television Show.

Let’s find out more about her in our Q&A, below!

arista arhin 4
Photo: Mark Binks

Hi Arista, nice to e-meet you! While we know you are an actress, tell us a little bit about yourself outside of show business.

To start, my name is Arista Arhin, and I just recently turned 14. I adore the colour pink at the moment, and I love anything to do with beauty and fashion! I have always loved makeup and dressing up, and I would consider it one of my areas of expertise!

Great! You play a young Michael Burnham on Star Trek Discovery, the child version of the series’ main character. Tell us what it was like your first day on set and seeing all the cool costumes and set pieces!

At first everything was a little intimidating, from seeing the sets to meeting all the amazing actors on the show. However, once the introductions were over and we went through a couple of takes, my nervousness faded and quickly turned into excitement. It truly was mesmerizing seeing the intricate costumes and the complex sets. Knowing how huge the Star Trek franchise is, I felt a lot of pressure, knowing that everything had to be flawless, but once we started filming everything did feel perfect, and that first day will be one that I will never forget.

What’s the best part about being on that show so far?

One part of my entire experience that has left me star struck has been meeting all the amazing actors on the show. The first person I met on set was Sonequa Martin-Green, who was so loving and caring, and who made it feel like we’ve known each other for years. Likewise, all other cast members made me feel very welcome and comfortable, and have made my time working on Star Trek Discovery even more enjoyable. Also, it was fantastic to work not only with fellow actors but with the entire crew who was extremely kind and caring towards me as a young actress.

Did Sonequa Martin-Green help you in any way to get you ready to play a younger version of herself?

From the beginning, Sonequa and I had a very strong connection where I would always be able to ask her for help not only with Burnham, but for other characters too. Burnham’s childhood was very complicated and some scenes were quite hard for me to portray, and Sonequa would always be there to help guide me through the emotions and actions occurring in a particular scene. She has given me some very useful pointers and taught me techniques that will forever stick with me.

You are also known for Odd Squad on PBS Kids, and have a new show coming up on Canada’s Family Channel called Bajillionaires. Tell us about that show and your character?

Bajillionaires is a show about a group of kids who run a start-up company in their parent’s garage and they make inventions to hopefully one day change the world. My character, Alicia Windsor, is the Chief Product Designer of the team, and she is very hands-on, always working on new projects, and is a devoted tech geek who is constantly coding. My character is very easy to fall in love with, and I can’t wait for everyone to see her and the squad in action!

You’ve already wrapped shooting season one. What’s your fondest memory from that set?

I remember one slow day on set that we spent mostly in the school room, relaxing between the shoots. While Mya was in her room, Ricky, Alec, and I were hanging out in the school room. Ricky was finishing up this large jigsaw puzzle that we were all working on for the past month, while Alec and I were attempting to cartwheel over the couches. All of a sudden, Alec felt the urge to completely crush the puzzle while Ricky and I were screaming in horror. For some reason, Ricky then flung the half broken puzzle across the room, and I joined him in throwing the other half. It felt strangely liberating. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the day cleaning up the school room.

Will the show be available to watch in the U.S., or is it only for Canadian TV?

Yes! It is currently available on Family Channel in Canada on Saturdays at 10:00 AM ET, starting March 2nd, and it will soon be available on Universal Kids in the U.S., so stay tuned!

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I played in a softball league for 6 years and had to quit because of filming Bajillionaires. Yet, it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

arista arhin
Photo: Mark Binks

Biggest pet peeve?

When people cut me off when I’m talking.

Favorite place to travel?

I really enjoyed Venice! The food was so delicious, and the scenery and architecture were incredible! I hope to visit again sometime soon!

Favorite food?

I love sushi sooo much!

Secret obsession?

Watching Liza Koshy on YouTube! She is so funny and I hope I can meet her some day!

What’s the last movie or show you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review 🙂

The last movie I watched is Don’t Breathe, and my review would be suspenseful and uncomfortable.

The one thing I cannot live without is__________.

Netflix!

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

So far, I’ve been quite fortunate not to have one.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

My new TV show, Bajillionaires, is premiering on March 2nd, and will air on Saturday at 10:00AM/ET in Canada! Also, Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery airs on Thursdays at 8:30PM ET/5:30PM PT on CBS All Access in the U.S., and in Canada, new episodes air on Thursdays at 8:00PM/ET on Space TV.

Could we get a selfie?

I’m sending two because you can’t take just one selfie 🙂 Thank you so much for such a fun interview!

arista arhin 2 arista arhin 3

https://twitter.com/aristaarhin
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8799369/
https://www.instagram.com/aristaarhin/

Rising star Natasha Bure talks Faith, Hope & Love – and her butterfly thumbs!

natasha bure twk

Natasha Bure (@natashabure) is a singer, author, actor, and YouTuber with a growing fan base, currently at 400,000 Instagram followers and 100,000 YouTube subs. She has perfomed on the hit show The View as well as NBC’s The Voice, and starred in Hallmark Channel’s Switched for Christmas. She has also published a teen advice book called “Let’s Be Real: Living Life as an Open and Honest You.”

Pretty great accomplishements for a 20-year-old, but perhaps her biggest is that she maintains her strong Christian values despite being involved in a business loaded with problematic messages and behaviors. Part of the credit no doubt goes to her parents, actress Candance Cameron-Bure of Full House fame, and former NHL player Valeri Bure, who raised her and her brothers to love Jesus and follow the Bible. That upbringing has clearly paid off, as Natasha seems to have a great future ahead of her while avoiding many of the traps that young influencers succumb to.

Her most recent work is Faith, Hope & Love, which opens March 15th. The romantic comedy deals with two broken-hearted people who find love through a dance contest. Natasha plays Gia Elpidas, who coaxes her father (played by Robert Krantz) to enter. Rounding out the cast are Peta Murgatroyd (Dancing with the Stars), Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law), Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Nancy Stafford (Matlock), Michael Richards (Seinfeld), and Maks Chmerkovskiy (Dancing with the Stars).

We asked Natasha a few things about her role plus some “getting-to-know-you” questions. Read on for the Q&A!

natasha bure teens wanna know

Hi Natasha, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your new movie “Faith, Hope & Love,” tell us a little bit about yourself outside of show business.

I’m super into music, acting, writing, cooking, and hanging out with my family and friends! I’m a pretty simple girl and I just love being around people that make me smile and doing things that bring me joy.

Thanks! What is “Faith, Hope & Love” about, and tell us about your character?

I play Gia in “Faith, Hope & Love.” She’s a typical teenager who is dealing with the everyday things that all teenage girls deal with. It was super awesome to play her and work with such awesome people on the film. The title pretty much explains the movie in itself. It’s all about faith, hope, and love.

I think a huge theme throughout this movie is family, taking risks, dealing with your faith, loving one another, and of course having fun.

Why do you think teens are going to want to watch this movie?

There are so many fun moments in the film and lots of great dancing! I hope everyone watching, enjoys the cute moments and can groove along during the film.

What was the most memorable moment during filming?

I had such a wonderful time filming with the whole cast and crew. My most memorable moment during filming was probably all the outtakes and blooper moments that we laughed about for so long.

natasha bure teens wanna know

Your family is known for having conservative Christian values, something rare in the Hollywood scene. And you talked about your own personal faith in your book “Let’s Be Real: Living Life as an Open and Honest You.” Has it been challenging to be a young Christian in show business, with all the problematic content themes and behaviors (drugs, sex, violence, profanity) common in Hollywood?

Personally, I’ve grown up in that type of environment my entire life so I don’t know anything different. I definitely have moments where I get discouraged in trying to stand up for what I believe in, when it’s not always the most popular opinion. In the end I just try to surround myself with people who encourage me and push me in the right direction.

You recently wrapped up your teenage years. Looking back, if you could travel back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself the day you turned 13, what would it be?

It would probably be to push myself and follow my passions with all my heart, regardless of other people’s opinions.

natasha bure teens wanna know

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

Hmm. I’m a clean/organize freak. I love cleaning and making things organized. I’ll even go over to my friend’s house and clean their rooms or organize their bathroom because I love neatness. I feel so much more calm in an orderly room, and I get too stressed when things are messy.

Biggest pet peeve?

When people are messy or disrupt my organized rooms/house area.

Nervous habit?

This isn’t really a habit, but when I get super nervous, my thumbs start to really hurt and feel like they have butterflies inside of them. Normally people get that in their stomach, but I get butterflies in my thumbs.

Favorite food?

Sushi.

Secret obsession?

It’s not really a secret obsession, but escape rooms.

What’s the last movie or show you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Quirky. Riveting.

The one thing I cannot live without is__________.

My family.

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

One of my most embarrassing moments of my entire life happened quite recently and I’m still not over it. I don’t think I can even speak of it yet! But, I had a quite embarrassing incident where I accidentally jumped into the wrong car at the valet, and there was an older couple in the car screaming because they were so confused why I hopped in their car.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

I have lots of music on the way. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while now and I’m super excited to release! I’m still making YouTube videos weekly and documenting my life for others to watch and share with me. More acting to come too!

Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!

natasha bure teens wanna know

Follow Natasha Bure:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/Natashabure
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Natashabure
YouTube: youtube.com/natashabure

Faith, Hope & Love Trailer

Team1rhr Unity Event w Casey Simpson, Bryana Salaz, Patrick Minor, Francesca Capaldi, Anna Seavey

Casey Simpson Why Don't We Bryana Salaz

Tired of all the negativity on the news and social media? Got people around you bringing you down? Check out the advice from influencers on how they stay positive and HIT THAT LIKE BUTTON AND SUBSCRIBE!

Interviews: Casey Simpson, Connor Finnerty, Bryana Salaz, Siena Agudong, Jayson Maybaum, Reese Herron, Isla Stanford, Jaheem Toombs, Lulu Lambros, Maxwell Simkins, Elie Samouhi, Francesca Capaldi, Dakota Lotus, Kacey Fifield, Jackson Dollinger, Travis Bryant, Carrie Schroeder, Caitlin Carmichael, Le Petit Cirque (Anne Arellano, Kaelyn Whaley), Anna Seavey, Patrick Minor, Jack Jerry, Nicki Baber, Sean Isaac Leo, Connor Dean, Samantha Gangal, Leanne Tessa, Shaylin, Ayden Mekus, Ayauna Rose, Piper Madison, Jax Malcolm, Paris Bravo, Olivia Rush, Aria Spinello, Taylor Hay, Will B, Mila Brener, Victoria Mueller, Malik Willcot, Kanou Awata

FOLLOW our Host: Keira Pena
http://instagram.com/keirapena

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The exquisite photographic eye of 17-year-old Kelly Needleman

kelly needleman teens wanna know

Kelly Needleman is a Northern California teen in his junior year of high school with a gift for photography and filmmaking. His pictures have appeared on the websites for National Geographic, CNBC and ABC thanks to a keen eye for composition and his knack for capturing ethereal, almost magical qualities from the landcapes he photographs.

What’s even more remarkable is that he has only been shooting for about two years and has no formal training, being entirely self-taught besides getting a few tips from fellow shooters, including a cousin in New York who is a professional photographer. While he is still learning, he is already producing some excellent work, and we cannot wait to see his career blossom.

We asked Kelly a few Qs about his background and his techniques, and share some of his best work. Read on to get inspired to pursue your own passion!

Images below courtesy Kelly Needleman and David Needleman

kelly needleman teens wanna know

Hi Kelly, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Before we get into your video and photography work, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, thank you so much for talking to me. I am a 17-year-old film director, writer, producer, entrepreneur and photographer located in Northern California. Although I am still a junior in high school, I have created my own production company called Needleman Productions. I plan on majoring in film directing and minoring in business when going to college.

Thanks. How long have you been capturing images, and what made you get into it?

I have been in the creative industry for the past few years. I started taking photos when my mom bought me my first camera when I was 15 years old. I gravitated towards landscapes and nature, which was fueled by the beauty that surrounded me. This lead to a natural progression into the film industry.

Which film of yours are you most proud of, and what makes it stand out to you most?

One of my favorite films I have made recently was “Italian Masterpiece”. This is a compilation of my entire time spent in Italy. It showcases these locations: The Dolomites, Venice, Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Tuscany. I feel that this film captures Italy through the countries dramatic mountains to the unique cities, visually showing a country full of life, love, and art.

And which one do you most wish you could do over so it was better?

I would like to revisit my film “My Identity”. Though it was very popular and received many awards, I feel I could have recognized the people who influenced me to be the person who I am today.

What’s your overall goal – like what do you want to achieve long term as an artist?

My overall goal is to create movies that are visually beautiful with attention to detail. I would like to make the viewer feel that they are enthralled by the visual experience.

Let’s talk equipment. What camera do you shoot with, and your favorite lenses?

I recently invested in a cinema camera called the Canon C200. In the past, I have used the Canon 6D for photos and short films. My favorite lenses to use are the 17-40 mm wide angle and the 70-200 mm telephoto lens. This allows for artsy and creative shots in my opinion.

What are your top 3 favorite photographs, and what makes each so special. 

My ultimate photograph would have to be “Peaceful Violence”

I have taken this shot many times, but this day the sky exploded and there was a magical feeling to the atmosphere. I was in the right place at the right time, for sure.

kelly needleman peaceful violence

My second favorite photo would have to be “Italy From Above”  I took this photo with my drone off the side of a mountain in the Dolomites. Again, lucky that this one car was driving up at the time I was shooting.

kelly needleman italy from above

My third favorite photo is called “Silky Flow.”  This is one in a series of fog photos that I have taken in Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. Capturing the fog was a weekly schedule for me and every photo was completely different, although shot in the same location. This taught me how to be patent and disciplined when waiting for the right moment and conditions to take the best photographs.

kelly needleman silky flow

Can you shed some light into how do you produce your stunning photography? Do you use photoshop to composite images together, such as add lighting and fog, or it that all in camera? Explain your process a little.

I try to edit as little as possible. All of my images are natural, not superimposed or created with Photoshop. I use Lightroom for editing colors and contrast. I have found my own style which is dramatic and mystical. I try to make each photo the same type of mood to convey a story or feeling.

Which is your go-to camera to shoot with? Why?

I have always fallen in love with the Canon brand. For me personally, I gravitate towards the Canon products because they are very reliable and bring my visions to reality. My go-to camera would have to be the Canon 6D because I am the most familiar with it and have used it throughout my entire creative career. I have developed a small relationship with Canon and have been published on their website and social media various times.

And from some of the bird-eye shots, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and a few of your videos, I see you have a drone as well, right? Which one do you use?

Yes, I have the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. I have used the drone for the last 2 years and it is the best drone in the market for its price. I have traveled through Europe with this drone and I found it quite cumbersome. I recently purchased the DJI Mavic Air which is very compact and easy to travel with.

Which filmmakers or creators do you look up to most?

The classic directors Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and Steven Spielberg. I also admire the careers of both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as directors, writers, and actors.

Currently, I am really loving an extensive amount of Netflix movies and TV series. The creativity and storylines are incredible. Some of the series I admire are Breaking Bad, Ozark, Bloodline, Dark, The Mist, and The Rain to name a few. I am a big binge watcher.

If you had the power to write, direct and star in your own movie with an unlimited budget, what would you call it and what would it be about?

That’s a really hard question because there are so many possibilities. I know would like to do something in the genre of psychological thriller mixed with drama/mystery. I would like to have the setting in a country that is not filmed in frequently, such as Iceland.

kelly needleman by david needleman

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have been playing tennis since I was 10 years old and I am currently the captain of my tennis team in high school.

Biggest pet peeve?

The sound of people eating loudly and licking fingers.

Favorite food?

Olive oil based penne pasta with chicken.

Secret obsession?

Watching YouTube videos, specifically David Dobrik.

What’s the last movie you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

Bird Box. Bizarre and Transfixed.

The one thing NOT related to filmmaking/photography I cannot live without is__________.

My Family

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

Just imagine an intensely competitive and quiet moment during a tennis match tournament with an audience watching and you completely airball your serve. On top of it, the racquet hit my leg and I had to play in pain for the rest of the match. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does happen it is extremely embarrassing.

What else are you working on or have coming up next?

Currently, I am in the midst of my first feature film. I am the director and writer of the film Lost Visibility. The logline for the film is: Maybe they weren’t as close as they thought they were. Three friends share intimate dreams that bring their secrets to reality.

The movie is in the genre of Teen Drama, Mystery, and physiological thriller. I have a confirmed lead actress, Gigi Cesare, who will be playing the role of Sam. She is on Netflix and has been nominated for an Imagen Award for best actress in a feature film. Currently, I am casting, alongside my Casting Director. We are in contact with a local famous actor, Disney Channel star, and Netflix star for roles in my movie. It’s a very exciting process and I can’t wait for the official shooting in summer!

Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!

Currently talking to my producer for my feature film and drawing storyboards with my storyboard artist.

kelly needleman teens wanna know 2

Follow Kelly!

https://www.instagram.com/kellyneedleman/
https://twitter.com/kellyneedleman_
https://www.facebook.com/kellyneedleman/
https://vimeo.com/kellyneedleman
https://500px.com/kelly_needleman
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9637880/
https://filmfreeway.com/kellyneedleman
https://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1460193/
https://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/kelly-needleman.html

‘All These Small Moments’: Brendan Meyer from The OA and Mr. Young talks about latest film

brendan meyer

Brendan Meyer is the lead in the new film “All These Small Moments,” which also stars Molly Ringwald, Brian d’Arcy James, newcomer Sam McCarthy, Harley Quinn Smith, and Jemima Kirke and directed by Melissa B. Miller Costanzo. It opens January 17th in select theaters, and the 18th on VOD.

Set in New York, the movie is a somewhat quiet study of relationships and the awkwardness that accompanies teenage life, especially when compounded by family strife and the beginning of sexual self-awareness. The film will resonate with older teens and anyone who has experienced a crush which one knows will never come to fruition, but which nonetheless inexplicably fixates one’s desires.

We got the chance to interview Brendan about the film as well as a few other topics (like his role on Fear the Walking Dead) via phone conversation, scroll down to read!

brendan meyer
Brendan Meyer as Howie Sheffield in Orion Classics’ drama ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

[Full disclosure: Interview below has been edited for clarity…and because on the call I kept calling the movie “All the Small Things” like the Blink-182 song instead of All These Small Moments — oops lol]

Hello Brendan.

Hi there.

How are you?

I’m good. How are you?

I’m swell, we got exactly 10 min and I was told I better not go over so I am going to be speed talking. Is that cool?

Yeah, that’s absolutely fine. I’ll try to talk quickly too.

All right, cool. So before we talk about your movie All These Small Moments let’s help the people who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Yeah, ok! My name’s Brendan Meyer, I am actually Canadian but I live in Los Angeles now. And yeah, I always wanted to be an actor so I’ve kind of been doing little acting classes since I was really really young. But it’s probably been…I’ll say my first actual professional acting credit was probably like almost 14 years ago now.

It started kind of small only working every now and then, did this show call Mr. Young and then I moved to Vancouver. I’ll say that’s when I really started — I mean I was working before that but not as consistently. So yeah that is kind of when I really started pursuing it both in Vancouver and then in L.A. So that’s been about eight years.

You live in LA now?

I do now. Yes. Yes.

Let’s get to the film now. Tell us what All These Small Moments is about, and about your character?

Well basically it focuses on this teenage boy and a bunch of different aspects in his life, and it also focuses on his parents. So his parents are going through kind of a rocky patch in their relationship. They are not sleeping in the same bed all the time, and the kids can kind of feel that, so that is kind of the home life.

Then Howie — the teenage boy that I play — whenever he is going to school, he rides the public bus and sees this sort of older woman, early 30s, and starts to be drawn to her and wants to know more of her story. And it also goes into sort of what is going on with him in school and this girl Lindsay, that he is always running into at the library, and his relationship with his friends and stuff. It is a little hard to describe succinctly, but it’s sort of this tapestry of all these moments that he is going through and that the family is going through.

all these small moments poster

Right. I saw it and I loved it. I think that everyone’s performances were amazing. So, I enjoyed it, but why do you think teenagers are gonna want to watch this film?

Well, I think teenagers will like this film because I think it is a great portrait of adolescence and I think how he desires to make sense of his situation and deal — I mean I think anyone who has dealt with parents breaking up or having a rocky relationship, that is not something I personally went through that but I imagine so many kids did. So that is something that young people could relate to if they are going through it right now, because I think its very real and honest to that experience.

And then I think there is a real interesting sense of development to all the different characters and I don’t think its just funnelled through a teenage experience. I think a teenager might enjoy not just relating to what they see, which is this sort of teenager-around-their-age’s journey, but they might also kind of be able to see their parents in some of the characters, or think more about what it would be like when they are a little bit older. So I think there is a lot there to chew on that is not just something that is trained to that teenage experience, and I think teenagers may be interested in that.

I agree. Especially older teens, maybe not the 13 or 14 year olds but you know the…

….maybe not, maybe definitely people in the Howie age-range, like 16, 17 and maybe even 18 could really, I think, get a lot out of it.

Absolutely. Now did you know who Molly Ringwald was before you booked the role? Did you know her iconic status?

Yeah, yeah, of course I was very very familiar with her movies and who she was and and the career that she’s had. So yeah, I was very excited to get the chance to work with her and was absolutely familiar with her.

Awesome. What stand out most for you from the production?

I mean one of the greatest things, you know the first thing that I always think of, is getting to film in New York. I love New York and I love spending time there, and we really were in such great, kind of classic New York locations whether it would be a Brooklyn brownstone or this roof overlooking the city or you know in these little parks or shops or cafes or wherever the scenes were.

I think that the movie does such a great job at capturing New York. And so, as an actor in the moment, being there was so amazing. I mean, I lived in a brownstone in Brooklyn while I was there. I walked to set a lot of days. I think the place I stayed was like two blocks away from the actual house where we shot all the stuff with the family. And it was pretty close to some of the other locations too, so it was really really cool.

Were there any awkward moments on set, especially with the actress who plays your crush? I know in real life there is not such an age difference, but as actors getting into your characters, was there any kind of maybe deliberate awkwardness that you guys kind of played off each other? I am talking about Jemima.

Yeah, I don’t think…there was no real awkwardness but I think there was certainly…you know the two of us and [the director] Melissa certainly worked together to sort of get it. A lot of it was in the script but it was still in the moment that you really have to finesse that sort of balance of the relationship, because obviously it is sort of an inappropriate age gap.

But is also one of the central relationships in the movie and so I think its an interesting balance. You are right, it is awkward and finding the moments in the script where the age difference didn’t matter in what they were talking about, and maybe finding the moments where it did and where that led to a little bit of awkwardness when that age difference shows, that was something we definitely had to work on as actors and with Melissa.

ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS2
Jemima Kirke as Odessa in Orion Classics’ drama ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS. Photo courtesy of Orion Classics.

 

Well you did a good job because there were some moments when I was cringing. I was like “oh no…”

I am also very naturally awkward. So sometimes that would just come out, and I like to think they could just use that (laughing). I don’t have to pre-plan that necessarily all the time.

All right, good. What role do you get recognized most for and maybe you wish people would move on? I am guessing Mr. Young, am I right about that?

Ah, look I never wish people would move on from anything I…you know, I don’t mind whatever people recognize me from, it’s fine. But yeah, I think that’s probably still the one that I most get recognized for. Sometimes The OA, but mainly Mr. Young still.  And for the most part I can still move around and its not too crazy but yeah, I’ll say when people do stop me its most often from Mr. Young.

Cool. You were part of another iconic series, albeit briefly: Fear the Walking Dead, first in the web series form and then in the actual show itself. Did you have hopes to make it as a regular or did you kind of know beforehand that your character was going to be limited?

You know, there was always talk about it potentially being more, but that was never confirmed. I actually booked the regular role I have on The OA at like the exact same time so I couldn’t have actually done it. So I don’t know necessarily if they ever made that call. I know there was certainly talk about having that character having a little of a longer lifespan, but I never got a confirmation one way or the other.

But it didn’t really ever matter because I started filming The OA I think the month after I did that episode of Fear of the Walking Dead — which was an amazing experience. It was really, really cool. The one episode that I got to do, filming in the water tank they filmed that season in and being down there on the set with all those actors for a day was cool. But yeah I think I filmed that the end of January and was in New York for The OA in February so it wouldn’t have worked.

Alrighty, so Brendan what do you have coming up next?

Yeah so the next thing is season 2 of The OA. I think that is the next chance you will be able to see me, and this movie comes out on the 17th in theaters and the 18th on VOD.

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Love your Instagram feed by the way, you have a good eye for photos man, you are talented. Good luck with the movie and hope to see you on a red carpet in L.A. somewhere.

Thanks man hope to see you too!

Follow Brendan: http://instagram.com/brendankjmeyer

Film trailer: