Signal Boost: Another Book Trailer

Hello all!

April was an incredibly rough month for me and it just seemed to drag on. It was one of those months where almost everything went wrong and I was just miserable (I’m still having difficulty wrapping my head around my late friend’s passing). There was a bright spot though: I was able to collaborate with Britty Lea again to make another book trailer, this one for the 2nd book in my series.

The trailer for Through Storm and Night debuted yesterday:

I love the spookiness and I’m just super happy with how it came out (and one of my dear, dear friends, Robyn Byrd, did some of the voice over).

Britty and I have already scheduled a brainstorming session to plan the trailer for From the Ashes. I’m looking forward to that.

I know some authors follow this site. If you’re looking for a badass ace filmmaker to make a super cool trailer for your book, I really recommend Britty. She’s fantastic. If you’re interested in commissioning Britty, check out her personal site (https://www.brittylea.com/) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brittyleafilm/).

And, of course, if you’re interested in helping out an indie ace author, you can always pick up a copy of my books. More information can be found at my personal website (https://laurenjankowski.com/) or my publisher’s, Snowy Wings Publishing, site (https://www.snowywingspublishing.com/).

I just wanted to share this because I’m super proud of it and I really appreciate the kindness of the artists and followers this site has. You all are amazing 🙂

Thank you, everybody!

Interview: Shelly

Today we’re joined by Shelly. Shelly is a wonderful performance artist and writer. She is studying to be an arts educator, focusing on drama and filmmaking. When she has spare time, Shelly writes. She aspires to be published one day and writes LGBTQ YA fiction. It’s very obvious that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m finishing my studies as an arts educator, in the areas of Drama and Film making. In my spare time I also write YA fiction with LGBT voices as a primary focus. Hopefully I’ll get something published in the future. This is a space that’s getting more attention but our young LGBT people deserve stories that have romances, not just characters struggling with their sexuality and that’s what I hope to bring to the table. I’ve also started dancing recently and I really hope to incorporate this into my arts education practice in the future.

What inspires you?

The world around us. Truth is stranger than fiction.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always loved telling stories, whether it be through writing or the stage. As a child I wanted to be an actor, then I studied producing at uni but I realized I could bring art to more young people through education.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

In my writing definitely. My characters are artists even if they don’t realize it. Creativity is so important to me and that’s why my characters are always involved in dance or cheerleading as a sport. I know there’s been a recent push towards STEM subjects of late, but I think that’s made the arts even more undervalued than they already were. That’s why I’m trying to push back. I want young people to see the value in their art.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Play and explore your art, mix styles. See other artists. Network with artists (this one is so important) you might meet a future collaborator. Learn entrepreneurial skills. In this industry you need to be able to create a job for yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a Demisexual, Bisexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not in my field no.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

People think you’re not just there maturity wise or you just haven’t met the ‘one’ who’ll change how you feel about sex, which I really don’t like because it suggests that we need rescuing and that reinforces the patriarchy’s status.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Find a support group. You are not alone. We’re not expected to go through life isolated, so don’t isolate yourself while you figure things out.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

https://dancetheatrestories.tumblr.com/

I’m planning on growing this platform further once I’ve completed my arts education studies.

Thank you, Shelly, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Elaina Lee

Today we’re joined by Elaina Lee. Elaina is a wonderful up and coming filmmaker. They’re currently writing a webseries entitled Nyte’s Edge, which is a fascinating spin on the superhero genre. It sounds intriguing and I’m definitely going to check it out when it’s released. Elaina is a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mainly describe myself as a writer. I went from attempting novels, to writing and completing screenplays for film. My favorite genres are sci-fi, action, suspense, adventure, and I mostly write in those categories as well.

I’m currently working Nyte’s Edge, a webseries about a superhero who must save his alcoholic ex-boyfriend from the grips of an elite crime organization that has taken over their city. It explores good verses bad, and the grey area between. It also explores forgiveness and redemption.

What inspires you?

In the least cheesy sense possible, people inspire me. My favorite part of the writing process is probably creating realistic characters that people can empathize with. I love listening to people’s stories, big or small.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I originally wanted to write novels, but I didn’t have time patience to sit down and write over 50,000 words. Instead, I turned to film. It’s funny because it turns out that I don’t have enough words to fill a novel, but I have too many words to fill a script so these last few months working on Nyte’s Edge has also been about finding some kind of happy medium between the two.

But I’ve always known that I was going to create and be creative. Nothing else stuck, especially in school. I thought I was doing something wrong in not picking a “practical” career, until I chose a creative field. Since then, I’ve never felt more on-track in my life, and that brings so much peace of mind to me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not currently, no.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stay true to yourself, and don’t follow a path that’s going to make you dread waking up each day.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, somewhere between sex-neutral and sex-repulsed.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Thankfully I haven’t yet. It’s not necessarily something that you just bring up on set at any time, but the people who work closely with me know about me being ace. I’m not necessarily “out”, but I’m also not hiding it and am fairly open about it.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I can’t be asexual because it’s not scientifically correct. Or that I just haven’t found the right person yet, so I can’t be asexual.

I did have some guy tell how I had a kind of superiority over allosexual people because my mind isn’t focused on sex, and therefore able to focus on other things more acutely. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh, and be kind of weirded out.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I think what’s helped me the most is knowing that I identify as I do for myself, not for anyone else. Keep allowing yourself to grow, and if you grow out of one identity and into a new one that you feel is a fuller explanation of yourself, then embrace it.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’ve got an official Facebook page, which is where you can find updates about Nyte’s Edge. I share all my film endeavors on there, so if you’re interested in seeing the short films I’ve been involved in, that would be the place to look. I’ve also got my film Instagram that anyone and everyone can follow. As for Tumblrs, I’ve got my film one at raggedybun, and a specific one for at nytesedge, but neither of them are particularly active currently.

Thank you, Elaina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: M. Rubio

Today we’re joined by M. Rubio. M. is a wonderful student filmmaker who specializes in short films. His films fall into a variety of genres: comedy, horror, drama, and even surrealism. When he’s not working on films, M. is writing, mostly nonfiction essays. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of him. My thanks him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I make short films and I write a lot. I guess category wise, I would be considered a student filmmaker. The stuff I publish are usually nonfiction essays about my life or thoughts. In terms of short films, I post occasionally, sometime random stuff, on my YouTube Channel. I intend to release a four-episode miniseries sometimes this summer though.

In terms of the art itself, the stuff leans towards awkward, dry, and self-aware comedy. Occasionally I lean to some drama or just pure surrealist comedy, it mostly depends on my mood or if I am assigned to make something that requires that tone.

My personal favorite work so far is this short where I put a voice over to a college horror film. This film is pretty much my style in a nutshell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ioj8HpSc6k&ab_channel=CannonBlasterakaM.Rubio

What inspires you?

Depends on what you mean specifically. In terms of the stuff I make, I am inspired by the things around me. I have a very Seinfeld mindset in that I write and film what I know.

In terms of inspiration in general. I admire people that have a strong moral ground or are amazingly creative. Bonus points if you are both. Examples include Jim Henson, Fred Rogers, Hayao Miyazaki, Fumito Ueda, and Lemony Snicket.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

The turning point was watching Roger Ebert’s commentary on Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane is great, but the commentary adds a whole new layer for me. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of storytelling. I watched it when I was a junior in high school, and I thought film was simply pointing a camera at something. The Roger Ebert commentary completely changed that.

I always wanted to be a story teller of some kind (I always had an active imagination), and that commentary convinced me that the film medium is the one I should pursue is film.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really. I guess there was always a layer of self-awareness, awkwardness, or dryness to my work, but there was never a unique signature of some kind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is okay if you don’t know everything or aren’t good at everything. No artist is an expert on their craft. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be good and strive to be better. That was a hurdle that I wished I learned early in my life. Art can be an intimidating field to get into.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as hetero demisexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

No prejudice, but tons of ignorance. Thankfully, it wasn’t the toxic ignorance. But almost everyone I talked to about my sexuality, I had to explain to them what asexuality/demisexuality was. This is not a problem for me, since I love explaining my asexuality. It never gets tedious. Mainly because, I love seeing the light bulbs light up when I do explain it.

That said, I am particular with who I come out to out of fear of prejudice. I live in the South, so certain people have a more hostile ignorance. You can usually tell which ones are which just by having a five minute conversation with them.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexuals are all frigid. One of common things I have to clear up are the fact that asexuals can be sex positive. I have to explain that there are a variety of spectrums with asexuality, and with sexuality in general. Not only is allosexual/asexual a spectrum, but how we view sex is also a spectrum.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Sexuality is an identity and identity is very fluid. That said, there are a lot of people, some of those people aggressive and toxic, that don’t know it or don’t believe it. There will be times where YOU have to clear up misconceptions. With that, you have to be an expert on sexuality.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

There is my YouTube channel, which I put all of my stuff on. Give it a look: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCha-tfYIjwdzylWfcz1BDGw?&ab_channel=CannonBlasterakaM.Rubio

I also blog on occasion. I usually put it on this site: https://themrubio.blogspot.com/

Thank you, M., for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Noreen Quadir

Today we’re joined by Noreen Quadir. Noreen is a phenomenal filmmaker, actress, and writer. She has acted in stage productions and short films. Noreen also writes screenplays and has written a feature length script about an asexual character. When she’s not working on film or stage, Noreen also writes in other forms too. She has written a children’s book, which she plans to self-publish soon. Noreen is an exciting artist and definitely someone to watch in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an actress, writer and filmmaker with a background in theater and media studies. Aside from having acted in stage productions, I have also acted in short films and did background work on TV. I have also written and produced my own projects. I wrote a feature length script which is still in works, but I’ve produced a short scene from the script. The film is about a high school girl who is discovering that she’s asexual. And as she is realizing this, she is struggling with feeling like an outsider, especially when no one around her believes that she is asexual or that asexuality is even real. In addition to screenplays, I write in other forms and have written a children’s book which I intend to self-publish soon.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by so many things. I certainly get inspired by bits and pieces of my own life, but I have never really written or produced anything that exactly mirrors my life and experiences. It’s a little too intimate for me and I value my privacy. The feature length screenplay I wrote has certainly been inspired by my experience as an asexual, but it is still a very different story. The character is a bit different and how she discovers, processes, and handles her self-discovery is extremely different than my own story. That of course made it more fun to write because I got to invent stuff and had to look for inspiration from other places. I do get inspired by other artistic works including music, books and other movies. Inspiration is something that just happens organically for me. I can’t force it, which can sometimes be frustrating because when I want to write something, I am out of ideas. But when I do get inspired, I am able to put the words down which is always a great feeling!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I suppose it all started when I took dance classes around the age of 5. I loved performing and being up on stage. And then as I got a little older, I developed an interest in singing and music. I sang in my school’s choir and I also played the flute. Sadly, I cannot play the flute anymore. But, I remember it was a lot of fun. I also learned a little bit of piano. So, I had a huge appreciation for the arts at a very young age. And eventually, I got interested in acting and performed in plays in high school and then decided to study theatre in college. And then from there, I wanted to create my own projects. I was also a writer from a young age. I remember I used to write a lot of short stories and poems in elementary school and my teachers would compliment me on my works. I was not getting high marks in math, but I found my skill in writing. And in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged me to become a children’s author and that always stayed with me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t think I have any special symbol, but I love the color pink. It’s my favorite color and it is what I wear in my headshot. My room back at my family’s home is also pink. And it is often that you will see me in that color. 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say to really invest in yourself and in your dreams. Whatever it is that you want to do – be it writing, filmmaking, performing, drawing, singing, etc., make sure you’re really committed to it and spend time each day on your craft. If you want it to be more than a hobby, then you have to do more than just dabbling in it here and there. It’s good to invest in adequate training, be open to feedback and learning, and exercise your artistic muscles daily.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic ace.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

A little bit, but not any more than I’ve encountered in other areas of life or in general. Since most of the people I meet in my field are professional contacts, my personal life isn’t much of a topic anyway. Occasionally, people have said ignorant things because sex is a big part of the film industry and it has been kind of implied that if you don’t fit in with that, you don’t fit within the industry. I suppose the only way I handle stuff like that is by calling people out on their ignorance and letting them know that despite the sexual liberation, there is still hypocritical close-mindedness when it comes to sex.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

It’s really hard to pinpoint one, because there have been many. I think probably one of the most common ones is that asexuality is impossible or that if you claim to be asexual, you either have experienced abuse or trauma, you have a medical disorder that is causing you to feel that way or you’re repressed. Some people think it’s just a phase and that you haven’t met the right person yet. I used to get a lot of comments like that when I was a teenager and when I was in college. There’s also this view that if you dress and act very feminine, wear makeup and perfume, etc., that you can’t be an asexual. I think some people equate asexuality with unattractiveness and a neutral gender expression.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I would say to know that asexuality is not abnormal and that they are not the only ones in the world with this orientation. And even though it is still not widely acknowledged, it really will take people being confident with their orientation to make the difference and to change how people view asexuality. So I would say to embrace yourself and that your orientation is just one aspect of you. It doesn’t define your entire self and there are so many other interesting aspects of a person. I tend to define myself and other people by choices and how you treat and interact with others. That’s what really matters at the end of the day.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Here’s my YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ZizzyNQ

And this is my actor’s website: https://www.noreen-quadir.com/

Thank you, Noreen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Bri Castellini

Today we’re joined by Bri Castellini. Bri is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films and webseries. She’s the creator of Sam and Pat are Depressed, a series that follows depressed roommates Sam and Pat as they help each other navigate the inherent awkwardness of therapy through profanity, humor, and take out. Bri has gotten a lot of attention from the ace community for the short film Ace and Anxious. Bri is very dedicated to own voices and in both these works, there are explicitly ace characters. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate filmmaker, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Bri

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and filmmaker, based currently out of Brooklyn, New York. My first web series, Brains, has two seasons plus two extended universe projects (a miniseries and a short film), and is about a college student post-zombie apocalypse who’s obsessed with getting her 5 year plan back on track, starting with a boyfriend. I wrote, produced, and edited the series, as well as played the lead character Alison. You can find Brains at brainswebseries.com. My second web series, Sam and Pat are Depressed, is actually in the process of “airing” right now on SeekaTV (Seeka.TV/samandpat– free to view but you have to make an account). It’s about two roommates who deconstruct their therapy together in funny ways to find humor in their mental health journeys. I wrote, produced, and edited this series as well, and play the character Sam, a biromantic asexual woman. I also have a short film that’s made quite a few rounds on Tumblr- Ace and Anxious, about an asexual woman named Emma with generalized anxiety disorder who, in attempt to curb her anxiety without paying for medication, places a “free sex” ad on Craigslist, because she learned of the stress-relieving “powers” of sex and wanted to test that out. I wrote, produced, edited, and directed that film. You can watch the full film on the LGBT+ streaming service REVRY or for free on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/215587592. I’ve also produced half a dozen other web series and shorts for friends and fellow filmmakers.

What inspires you?

Tons of stuff! I’m a big fan of apocalypse fiction, people arguing, and characters put in situations at odds with their comfort zones. Sometimes a friend will make a joke and that’ll become a web series (as in the case of Sam and Pat, which is based on conversations I’ve had with my good friend Chris Cherry. He’s at truestoriesaboutme on Tumblr). In terms of people who I consider career inspirations, I really look up to multi-hyphenates like Mindy Kaling, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and the indie filmmaker Kate Hackett, all very funny women who do a little bit of everything.

Also, if I could ever direct something as snappy and stylized as Edgar Wright, I’d consider myself a success.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but up until my last year of college, I wanted to write prose. Novels, short stories, that sort of thing. It wasn’t until I listened to the podcast The Nerdist Writer’s Panel, a podcast of TV writers talking about making their shows, that I realized I wanted to get into screenwriting. I applied to exactly one grad school in New York (I was in college in Oregon at the time), got in, and moved across the country as soon as I graduated from undergrad. About eight months later we made the pilot episode for Brains for a class, and I loved independent producing so much we decided to keep going and make the whole first season. The rest is history. Indie filmmaking has made me very, very broke, but happier than ever before.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t know if I’d say I have a signature, but I like to think I have a very distinct writing voice. I’m a fan of when characters speak in really long, unnecessarily complicated sentences at very quick paces, and I love writing arguments, because I think they’re the most fun version of human conversation. So if you’re watching a Bri Castellini project, there’s likely at least two arguments and there’s definitely a long, anxiety-ridden rant by one character who speaks very quickly like they’re afraid they’ll burst otherwise.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t wait for permission or wait for the perfect conditions- the conditions are never perfect and the only person you need permission from is yourself. Figure out what you enjoy doing, and then do that as often as possible, trying to improve a little each time. And even though doing everything yourself seems easiest and most impressive at first, asking for help is the mark of a true artist, especially in film.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic ace, probably whatever the step right below gray ace is. There are a lot of differing opinions on what the spectrum is and what the different labels are, but in general my opinion on sex is between “shrug” and “oh, yeah, that’s a thing people do outside of movies.” I’m in a long term monogamous relationship with an allosexual man.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

My field is indie media right now, which is, as you can imagine, a much more progressive arena than mainstream Hollywood, so I’ve never experienced ignorance directly. I also didn’t realize I was asexual until about three years ago when I did some research and all the insecurities I had and confusion I was experiencing finally clicked. I’ve been remarkably lucky about the circles my work has ended up in, though, and I am aware of what a privilege that is.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexual people don’t have sex. I’ve been with my partner for five years now, which is the first thing people know about me in regards to my romantic life, and when they find out I’m asexual afterwards there are a lot of very awkward, personal questions I get asked as they puzzle out how to categorize me in their minds.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Do your research! When I was figuring out my own sexuality, I read every article I could find and watched every video available on asexuality, and eventually, I had enough information to confirm what I probably always knew, somehow. Research also helps when coming out to people closest to you, especially if you’re in a relationship (as I was when I came out). I’m a very pragmatic, analytical person though, so the takeaway for someone who doesn’t want to write themselves a sexuality dissertation (I wish this was a joke, but, well, here we are), labels aren’t written in stone. Just communicate with yourself and with your partner (if you have one) about how you’re feeling at different moments, and let the label evolve until you feel it expresses what you need it to.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Following me on Twitter and Tumblr (BrisOwnWorld on both) is a great place to start, because I’m very active on those sites, but you can get a complete look at what I’ve created on my website, BriCastellini.com. I’m always available if you need advice on a filmmaking or writing problem!

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Thank you, Bri, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: Book Trailer

Hey everyone!

I have a super awesome book trailer and an announcement concerning the eBooks of my series.

BOOK TRAILER

A while back, I interviewed a fantastic up and coming filmmaker for this site, Britty Lea. I was struck by her creativity and just the fascinating visuals in her short films. I remained in touch with her (she even moderated this blog for a bit). Recently, she started doing some freelancing and mentioned wanting to get into book trailers. I can’t even begin to describe my excitement at hearing this and soon commissioned her.

And man alive, did Britty deliver! Check it out:

If you’re interested in commissioning Britty, and I cannot recommend her work highly enough, check out her personal site (https://www.brittylea.com/) or her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brittyleafilm/). She’s a phenomenal filmmaker.

EBOOKS

I’m going to try not to swear, but no promises 🙂

Like numerous indie authors, I was selling the eBooks of my series through a site called Pronoun (which was part of MacMillan Publishing). MacMillan, without any sort of warning, decided to shut down Pronoun permanently. Thereby screwing numerous indies.

A week into marketing and I lost my rankings, which are important to indie authors, because of this. I’ve been forced to move my eBooks onto Kindle. For the foreseeable future, they’ll only be available on Kindle (I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience). The paperback distribution will be unaffected and still widely available.

However, this is a setback and a really frustrating one. People, I really, really need support in the form of reviews and signal boosts. And, of course, I need people to buy my books.

If you’re interested in physical copies, after Sunday, they’ll be available on my Square Store for convention prices (which are a little cheaper than online distributors and the money goes directly to me).

Thanks everybody! 😀