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Illeana Douglas is Easy To Assemble
October 17th, 2008 under Interviews. [ Comments: none ]


Illeana Douglas, who created the hit webseries Illeanarama, is back with a new job at IKEA in Easy To Assemble. Easy to Assemble premiered a few weeks ago online and it has already been seen by millions and it is only few webisodes in. CBS was so impressed with the numbers, that less than a week after making its online debut they picked it up and are playing them on TV.com. But forgetting all of that what Illeana has created has me laughing out loud every time I watch one. So much so I had to find out more about how she came up with the webseries! So during one of her many many Swedish meatball breaks she answered my questions about Easy To Assemble and I am so grateful she did!

Seriously? OMG! WTF? – How did you come up with the idea to work at Ikea?
Illeana Douglas – I have been writing and developing scripts for the last few years. Working in independent films a lot of the financing has dried up. I have been trying to get financing for a film I developed called Oh Joy!
I was approached by someone from the branded entertainment world that was a fan of a pilot I wrote called Supermarket of the Stars (based on a short film I also wrote called Supermarket) It was on You Tube-it became a big hit-it won some TV guide online awards etc. It caught the attention of IKEA executives. All this time I’m trying to get Oh Joy! Up and running-and after one meeting with IKEA-they said I could write any story I like as long as it was set in an IKEA store. I was excited by the prospect of shooting something in July and now it’s already on the web and fans are enjoying it. I think as creative people we are just trying to come up with new funding prospects for our artistic endeavors. IKEA was a natural fit for this story because of the Wizard of Oz like quality of the store.

SOW – How did you get your friends like Craig Bierko, Tom Arnold and Jeff Goldblum to come down and become Ikea workers for the day?
ID – I was writing this while doing a movie with Tom Arnold (my third) Jeff and I have worked together before in Supermarket-so it was natural that he was in it. Craig is great-I is such a fan of his. We all have these projects that we’re trying to get off the ground and I’m blessed to have talented and supportive friends. We all want to continue to work together. I love writing things for actors I admire.

SOW – Did Ikea pay you in furniture, Swedish Meatballs or toys for the webisodes?
ID – We were pretty covered on the meatball front. We didn’t have money in the budget for food so IKEA covered our lunches every day. I thought that was very generous of them. Also I’m a vegetarian so they made me veggie meatballs. I’m hoping to get an IKEA kitchen for my mom. We’ll see. Hopefully for season 2.

SOW – What do you have of Ikea’s in your house? Did you assemble it yourself?
ID – I have IKEA plates, cups and glasses. No assemblage required. I did come up with an Easy to Assemble jingle that I’m very proud of. The title refers not only to the products but that the cast, crew, directors were Easy to Assemble. We’ve all worked together on so many projects (Pittsburgh, Fired, Supermarket of the Stars)

SOW – Can you believe the success of webisodes?
ID – I am obviously thrilled that fans like the show. I was able to incorporate music, and dance which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The episodes only get better. There is a linear story. It’s subtle. If you like drunken squirrels it’s not for you. It’s more in the tradition of Extra’s. I hope people continue to like it so we get picked up for a second season. This is a very exciting time for artists. We are pioneer’s. We are setting the model now that others are going to copy. Like TV in the beginning. The most important thing is the fans. We need the grass roots fan base to continue.

SOW – How did the deal with CBS and TV.com come about?
ID – Is there an irony that one network passed on a show, I reworked it, set it at an IKEA and then a network-CBS picked it up for distribution after it got 300,000,000 views on You Tube. Yes. There’s irony in that. Look I’m thrilled. I’m an artist. I want my art to be seen. That’s the goal.

SOW – Are you thinking of changing jobs and working for Ikea?
ID – I would like to have IKEA be my part time job. I’d love to continue doing Easy to Assemble. We had a great time. We made people happy. We entertained. People doing scenes with actors. It was great

SOW – Do you like working better at Ikea or a convenience store?
ID – I liked working at IKEA. The whole Swedish thing was great. In the show I have a blond Swedish alter ego named Beirget so I’d like to continue to be her. Plus the meatballs.

SOW – Where will be working next? (storewise)
ID – We’d like to stay at IKEA because the story lines were so easy to write but if I had a choice I’d most like to work at Dunkin Donuts. I’m from the east coast and it was a major part of my childhood. I could set a show at Dunkin Donuts-the munchkins alone.

SOW – What will see you in next? (Hollywoodwise)
ID – As I said I am trying to set up Oh Joy! It’s a romantic comedy set in the cowboy world. Rainn Wilson is attached. That’s my priority. The director is Greg Pritkin who I did Dummy with. Tom Arnold and I just did a movie called April Showers that we just finished. I just did Headcase.There’s a music project that I have with the directors of Easy to Assemble-Chris Bradley and Kyle LaBrache.

Thank you so much to Illeana Douglas for taking the time to my answering my questions during her busy IKEA work day!!!

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Craig Bierko is Easy to Assemble
September 29th, 2008 under Craig Bierko, Interviews. [ Comments: none ]


Illeana Douglas has created the brilliant webseries Easy To Assemble. In it she has quit her Hollywood acting job and is working at the Ikea in Burbank (my Ikea) and learning how Easy everything is To Assemble. Several of her friends including the hysterical and witty Craig Bierko appear in the webisodes, so when I saw his name attached I had to ask him about it. Afterall he did create the brilliant webisode Bathing with Bierko!!!

Seriously? OMG! WTF?: How did you get involved with Easy to Assemble?
Craig Bierko: I’m friends with Illeana and when she told me about the concept for the show I thought it was hilarious and surreal, a combo that always appeals to me. I also liked the idea of playing myself because I wasn’t always a fan of the guy who played me before.

SOW: Do you carry your Allen Wrench around with you at all times even when you are not working?
CB: I think they have a lot of nerve naming something that small and nonwrench-like anything but what it is – a little bent piece of metal. You can’t do that. You’re not allowed to just pick up a little bent piece of metal and claim “Allen Wrench.” That’s bullshit, man.

SOW: Do you shop at Ikea? Did you have some Swedish Meatballs when you shot the webisode?
CB: I must have bought something at Ikea at some point. Maybe a frame of some kind, or a pot. I really don’t like to put things together though, especially if I’m going to sit on it eventually. I’m not good at doing that stuff and it seems like a cost-efficient recipe for serious spinal cord injury. I missed the meatballs but the smell is never far away at Ikea.

SOW: Can you believe the success of Easy To Assemble? Did you hear CBS.com picked up the webisodes?
CB: I didn’t know that until just now but I’m not surprised. Illeana emailed me a few days ago and told me some of the people who are planning to do – or have already shot – an episode. She’s worked with everyone and everyone loves her so that means it’s going to be really fun to see who pops up week after week.

SOW: What have you been up to? What are you working on?
CB: I’m about to shoot an episode of a show called “Head Case” which Ali Wentworth does for Starz. Once again, I’ll play myself – only this time I’m getting therapy from Ali, who plays a shrink to the stars. It’s all improvised which is good because that’s what I usually do anyway.

SOW: Taken baths with anyone famous recently and filmed it? Or not so famous?
CB: I gave my dog Boo a bath last night and she’s quite renowned in my apartment.

SOW: What happened with “To Be Or Not To Be”?
CB: Well, I’ll just say that it was a very difficult decision for me to leave the play. Everyone in the cast is so talented – as is the director Casey Nicholaw who is probably the single nicest, most enthusiastic, big-hearted person I’ve ever met. You stand next to him and you just start smiling. There should be a few of him on every block, the world would be a better place.

SOW: What will we next see you in?
CB: I’ve got a Vera Wang number that’s going to stun you to your socks.

I can’t wait to see Craig in that Vera Wang number, you know he is going to be so sexy in it! Seriously he always cracks me up! So I can’t wait to see what he does when he is on Head Case, a show that is so perfect for his comic timing!
On an Easy To Assemble note, the webseries is doing so well in its first two weeks alone that CBS has picked it up and the webisodes can be seen on TV.com.
Thank you so much Craig Bierko for taking the time to answers my questions once again!

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Ferras tells me about Aliens & Rainbows!
May 4th, 2008 under Interviews. [ Comments: 1 ]

Hollywood’s Not America

Ferras is climbing the charts with his debut album, and his song Hollywood’s not America is not only getting tons of airplay on the radio it has also been featured on American Idol and The N. Not bad for Ferras first CD, so before he makes it to big he sat down and told me about his debut album Aliens & America!

Seriously? OMG! WTF?: What is your obsession with aliens?
Ferras: “…that’s a good question, I think aliens are so cool because we don’t know if they really exist and we don’t know what they are and I think that they look at us from far away and observe us”
“I kind of feel like I’m kind of an outsider in a lot of ways and I feel like I do the same thing I observe life from kind of a distance even though I’m on this planet, and I feel a connection with them and feel that they are mysterious and want to meet one.”

SOW: What is the meaning of Hollywood’s not America?
Ferras: “…sentiment, staying true to yourself, in amidst a world that celebrates phoniness and kind of fakeness, things like that. It was written about a girl who moves out to California to achieve her dreams, to be a celebrity and a household name. She does that but at the end of the day realizes that she’s empty inside because she lost herself and didn’t have love in her life. One thing that I’ve realized in a world of illusion that is Hollywood, the most important thing is to realize that you’re doing a job and never to lose sight of the art and the passion of why you’re doing it. People who want to be celebrities for no reason are cool, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have a good concept of self, I think it’s a dangerous game to play.”

SOW: What was your reaction when you heard that American Idol and The N wanted to feature Hollywood’s not America?
Ferras: “I’m stoked. Still the American Idol thing is done; The N is being incredibly supportive. They’re so awesome. To have your music featured or have your music featured period on such great shows and channels and what not, people appreciate the art you put out there and there’s no greater feeling than to know that you’re touching and inspiring people and they appreciate your art.”

SOW: You say you are into snow globes…if you could make a snow globe (besides yourself) what would put in it?
Ferras: “Probably would put a world that I wanted to create. Probably a place with lots of palm trees, a spaceship, a microphone, a beach, and a piano, and just a lot of things, and of course…snow.”

SOW: Who are musical inspirations and how has that influenced your sound?
Ferras: “I’d say Elton John, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos, Cat Stevens, Bowie, Freddie Mercury.”
“I think they’re all amazing songwriters and they tell a story and their music is when you listen to it, you feel something. So I think that me listening to that kind of music growing up helped me to write songs where I could have become vulnerable, or it comes from an honest place.”

SOW: Tell my readers why they should pick up your album Aliens and Rainbows, besides that fact that it is amazing!
Ferras: “Pick it up if you want to be entertained, and if you want something different from the kind of music that’s out there right now. If you want music that’s inspiring and fun and music that causes you to think and if you want to get away from your everyday life. There’s a song on the record for each kind of feeling that you have. I think it’s a record you grow with and it’s a record that can help you get through things and inspire you.”

Seriopusly guys pick up Ferras‘ Aliens & American because you really will be entertained by how different and good it is!!!

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Guillermo talks about Jimmy Kimmel Live’s 1000th show!
April 3rd, 2008 under Interviews, Jimmy Kimmel. [ Comments: 1 ]


(photos © ABC)

Guillermo is the cutest guy on television, but before Jimmy Kimmel Live! celebrates its 1000th show tonight on ABC at a special time of 11:35p he took so time to answer my questions about what it is like to be on the funniest late-night show on television! Let me tell you I thought that Guillermo was the cutest guy on TV before this interview, now I am convinced of it.
For those of you who are missing out by not watching Jimmy Kimmel Live! (why I don’t know) you miss out how celebs just love Guillermo so much that they ask for him when they are the on show. For example Janet Jackson asked Jimmy Kimmel if she could borrow him and wait until you read what he said about that.
Seriously I don’t know how you could not fall in love with this guy by the end of interview.

Seriously? OMG! WTF?: How did you go from parking attendant to being on-air?
Guillermo: I was working for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show as the parking lot security guard and so I always said hi to everyone as they came in every day. One of the guys that started talking to me was the warm-up guy for the audience Don Barris. He would always tell the audience to say hello to me when the show was having a concert outside. So he would say my name and make me wave to the hundreds of people out there and I was so shy and always embarrassed. But I guess Jimmy became used to me out there from hearing Don talk me. So then one day I was on a break and I took a nap in one of the guys car. Sometimes I would help move cars around and he said I could use his car if I needed to. It was the announcer for the show Dicky Barrett (lead singer of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and when Dicky saw me sleeping in his car he started laughing and showed Jimmy who thought it was funny too. So Jimmy told the show producers to send me to an event and use me for a comedy bit on the show. I didn’t know what to do at all when they said I had to talk to the celebrities! They took me to Detroit for the Super Bowl and I was seeing all of the famous athletes and celebs and I was so nervous that I would mess up. But then I guess they liked it because now I am at the show every night! I stand inside the studio next to Jimmy’s Uncle Frank and the other security guard Veatrice during the show.

SOW: Can you believe that Jimmy Kimmel Live! is celebrating its 1,000th show? Are you going to do anything to celebrate?
G: They are having a party for us at the Roosevelt Hotel. It’s close by the studio so we will just walk over after the show I guess! As long as there is some music and a little drink then that will be fun with everyone.

SOW: Are you surprised by the positive fan reaction you get and how everyone thinks you are just so cute?
G: It’s great, you know? People recognize me sometimes. They see me and know my face. They will point and laugh sometimes, but sometimes they ask for pictures. That’s fine with me though because if they know me then that means they watch the show, so that’s good! Some of the people say that my face never changes, that I always look the same. I don’t mind if that means I always look young.

SOW: What is the greatest thing that Jimmy Kimmel has taught you?
G: To respect others and treat everyone the same. Everyone is equal to him. I’ve also learned to just always be myself.

SOW: Would you consider doing Dancing with the Stars?
G: Jimmy and I did the teaching segments “how to dance like a star” last year – that was pretty crazy. So many people saw them! They would say – hey! You are the parking lot security guard who does the dancing! That was funny. Sure, I would love do the show…. but only if I don’t have to wear dresses again.

SOW: Do you ever think of dumping in Jimmy Kimmel Live! and getting your own show? I know I would watch!
G: If it was in Spanish maybe! I love working here though – I’m a very lucky guy.

Guillermo is a lucky guy, but we are luckier to have him. Here is someone living the American dream, loving and appreciating what he does and we get to watch him do it.
Now that you have read the interview don’t you just want to him watch him on Jimmy Kimmel Live weeknights at 12:05a! That is except for tonight when there is special 90-minute episode to celebrate its 1000th episode at 11:35p on ABC! BTW Guillermo I hear the after-party (that I was not invited to…:() is sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, so there will be plenty of drinks to make the party fun!
Thank you so much Guillermo for doing the interview and Chelsea for setting it up!!!

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Michael Damian is back to celebrate Y&R’s 35th Anniversary!
March 25th, 2008 under Interviews, Michael Damian. [ Comments: 1 ]


(The trailer for Moondance Alexander)

Michael Damian is back as Danny Romalotti (my favorite actor on the show) on The Young and The Restless to celebrate it’s 35th Anniversary this week, but before we see him on CBS he answered some of my questions like what it is like to be back performing on the show and what he is up to now!

SOW: What is like being back on The Young and the Restless?
MD: It was a lot of fun. Sort of like a high school reunion. It was wonderful to have a chance to see all my old friends again and meeting some new ones. The cast and crew surprised me with a standing ovation when I walked on the set. It was a very touching moment for me.

SOW: What was your reaction when they asked you back to celebrate their 35th year on TV?
MD: It was a great call to get. It was a pleasant surprise. It was sort of funny because my first question was, “what is the story going to be?” but they had no answer because it was during the writers strike. So it was all a big mystery until I got my first script.

SOW: What was it like singing on the show again?
MD: Surreal. Specially since the concert that I’m performing on the 26th had almost the entire cast in the audience. That was a first. Looking out in the crowd and seeing Victor Newman bustin’ a move was really fun. I think this was very important for the character of Danny. When I came back to the show in 2004, Danny didn’t perform any music which seemed to be out of character for him. The fans really gave me a hard time about that.

SOW:Any chance of you going back to Y&R full time?
MD: That depends on 3 things. 1. Y&R would have to make me an offer. 2. It would depend on my schedule as a film director. 3. I would only return to Genoa City full time if I could wear my 80’s hair and spandex.

SOW: When are we going to get a new album from you? What can you tell us about it?
MD: My new EP is available on iTunes now featuring my new single “Getting So Much Better.” which I will be performing on Y&R March 26th.

SOW: You recently directed and wrote the movie Moondance Alexander, can you tell us about it? How do you like being behind the camera?
MD: I love writing and directing. It is such a creative process with so many moving parts. It really is a tremendous challenge but is equally rewarding. It’s a thrill when you see the final result on the big screen. I wrote the movie with my wife, Janeen. It is based on her adventures in Mississippi with her Pinto pony named Checkers. It’s an against all odds story that leaves you feeling inspired. We wanted to make a film with positive family values that was also fun and entertaining to watch. It stars Kay Panabaker, Don Johnson, Lori Loughlin and James Best. We were fortunate to have great success in the festivals. We won best picture at Newport Beach, the Grand Jury Prize in Vienna and Best screenplay at L.A. Femme, 20th Century Fox is releasing the film on DVD April, 29th 2008.

SOW: Tell us about your radio show? Where can we listen to it and how did it come about?
MD: I enjoy guest hosting for the Independent Music Network. It’s great to always keep up with the newest music scene and helping introduce new artists is a real thrill for me. The show airs all around the world but you can always catch it on www.michaeldamian.com.

SOW: What else are you working on if the above is not enough?
MD: Janeen and I are writing a new script right now. We are also gearing up to shoot our next movie “Christmas at Castlebury Hall” this fall.

I hope that they bring Michael Damian back to Y&R because I miss him spandex with ’80s hair! That was a good look for him! Even though he looked great in the ’80s, his career is only getting better in the new millennium with being back on Y&R, a new EP Getting So Much Better, writing and directing two features Moondance Alexander and the upcoming Christmas at Castlebury Hall and a radio show on The Independent Music Network!
BTW he looks the same as he did when the started on the show back when had ’80s hair and wore spandex! He hasn’t aged a day!

Thank you to Catherine for setting up the interview and Michael Damian for taking the time to do it!

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