Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Love the Theatre...But Without Snarks!

Click HERE to see rare footage from the famous play Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand. Year 1965.
The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see
Excellence: Marge Champion and Debbie Reynolds
the truth about life and the social situation.

Stella Adler

 “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”

― Marilyn Monroe

Snarky:  of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide.
"the kid who makes snarky remarks in class"

This is an open letter to all that go to the theatre, all that cannot afford to go to the theatre, and especially to all Broadway and theatre press agents (and also those press agents who cover the cabaret scene). I LOVE THE THEATRE...and  other forms of LIVE Entertainment.
There has been a certain brouhaha over the last
Rudy Vallee, Virginia Martin and Robert Morse on stage, 1961.
weeks within the theatre community in which a certain journalist who works for the Wall Street Journal writes with glee about how many shows she has bolted from that she has been given "FREE: tickets to to hopefully write about.
As a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, she has been given an opportunity that many would love to have, especially me!
Read Ken Davenport's brilliant blog HERE that includes the original offending email AND Ken's response to it all.

Jim Romensko even weighed in. It found its way on to Playbill.com.

I first became enamored with show business as a small child.

Those of you who read my blogs may find a lot of redundancy in this one but I'd like to reiterate the path that led to where I am now.
I am a product of sixties and seventies television.
Those were the days before DVRs, VCRs, DVDs, cable, etc. There were only three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Those networks were on the air from approximately 6AM till 1AM and then the National Anthem would play before signing off till the next day's programming. In those days of variety shows and television specials, the old traditions of vaudeville were still very much intact.
Therefore, the networks vied for the largest demographics across the board. That meant that I would see shows with artists of my generation sharing stages with those artists from my parents generation AND my grandparents! As a result, I grew up with a healthy appreciation of those that went before me.
That love for previous generations continued when I started taking acting and elocution lessons with Miss Florence Theodora Epps in my hometown of Conway, South Carolina. I've written about her in the past. Read my blog on her HERE.


She started the theatre in 1969, when I was eight years old, with their first big show, Finian's Rainbow.
It would not be for another four years before I would find my way into that world and onto that stage. I did a full blog about my disastrous audition for Mame sometime ago. As I wrote previously,  they somehow gave me a chance with two lines and a part in the chorus.
A few years later, I ended up getting a more substantial part when director Linda Simmonds cast me as Roberts, the Butler, in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. When I asked her how/why I got the part, Linda told me she saw how much it meant to me.
She said she observed me during rehearsals and performances of Mame and felt that I was now ready and she KNEW how hard I would work at it. 
AND, I did.
 On opening night, Miss Epps came backstage with an apple for me in honor of the Barrymores. She told me that she thought I had the makings of a great actor, but if I didn't get rid of my thick southern accent, I would be doing Tobacco Road the rest of my life.

She suggested elocution lessons. Please note that my parents did not support this "folly" of mine on ANY level. If I had told my parents that I wanted these lessons, I would have been laughed right out of our house. I explained my predicament to Miss Epps. She assured me that it would be taken care of.
 True to her word, she called me three days later.
She said she could use some help around the house, chores and odd ends in exchange for lessons!
Miss Epps had a little playhouse complete with stage in her back yard. After school, every Wednesday and Thursday, I would come over to help in the garden and whatever else needed to be done around the house.
 We would work for an hour, have iced tea, and then get down to work.
We would read from biographies, the classics, great plays.
Ginger Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Ethel Merman at the Harwyn Club (1957)...a day when stars were STARS
Miss Epps had a very interesting way of working which was beneficial to me in the long run and set the standard with which I still work today. I would read out loud. Anytime I would come across a proper name, place, or historical event, she would stop me and ask about it to see if I had taken the time to research it.
If I didn't know, she would close her notebook and say, "Our lesson is over today.. When you come back, we will pick up where we left off. KNOW who these people, places, and events are." I would leave her house and go immediately to the Conway library and check out EVERY book where I could find things in the index about them! There was no such thing as Google and Search engines!
Miss Epps taught me that every time I walk out on stage, I am carrying on my shoulders the mantle of every great entertainer that has gone before me! I never forgot that and I still think of that today almost forty years later!
When I came to New York in 1979, I came with a healthy knowledge of a rich theatrical history that went before me. I also arrived at a transitional period in the history of entertainment.
The internet age had not yet begun, we didn't have cable television, VCRs were not part of our world, no cell phones...the list goes on and on. Times Square was dangerous AND exciting! There were many revival houses in New York. There was no TMC.
I used to go every Sunday night to a double feature!
Two years later, the world as we knew it would change. On Saturday, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time, MTV launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," spoken by John Lack, and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia, which took place earlier that year, and of the launch of Apollo 11.
I personally believe that it was the greatest disservice to happen to the entertainment industry. Everything was geared to a very specific demographic. If you didn't fit into that demographic, you were not seen or heard. Therefore, an entire generation of people grew up not knowing what came before OR what their other options were.
It also changed the way people "listened" to music.
It amazes me how many young people today have no idea who the greats of Broadway were IF they did not appear in the entertainment industry within the past twenty five years.

Recently, I called a cabaret room in New York to inquire about a particular show. I was informed by the person answering the phone that Judy Garland was appearing there! The show  that WAS going to be there was actually a celebration of songs from her illustrious career. Not only was I told that Judy would be appearing there, I was told that she had been there several times! The person answering the phone went on to tell me that she was a "jazz singer", but perhaps I would like the later show more! He had no clue as to what he was saying or who he was saying it to!
I posted the exchange on Facebook as it transpired. I was overwhelmed by the response, lots of likes, comments, and shares. Almost everyone got the absurdity of the situation. One misguided fixture of cabaret took it upon herself to privately chastise me in an email that I don't think she would have had the courage to say to my face.

I was accused of being jealous that I was not in the show that I was asking about. I was accused of trying to ruin a club, a "producer", and the person answering the phone by posting something on Facebook. I was told that I would be the last person she would hire for promotions because I was now a laughing stock in the community.
She went on to say she was compelled to tell me these things because she was a "friend".
Number one, my goal is always to elevate instead of denigrate. I think we ALL have a responsibility to try and raise the bar. I have noticed that the bar gets lowered more and more every year. We all go about our business celebrating the status quo and no one wants to rock the boat, so we allow these things to continue.
If it had been any number of people in the media, you can rest assured this would have been a bigger news item than a mere posting on my Facebook page.
If it had been another club or even another person posting this, it would not have raised an eyebrow. She sent the email, rather than picking up and calling me to discuss it rationally, because she felt she could. This is a prevalent issue that is facing the arts and theatre now. People feel they can get away with a lot just behind email and on line rather than discussing things rationally.
When the internet age began, before Facebook, many sites had chat boards which gave rise to a lot of snarky behavior on the web. I stayed away from those sites.
From time to time, I was alerted to the fact that therewas a thread running on me. This was in the days when I was performing as Carol Channing. Although there were compliments and accolades regarding my work, most of the time, the posts were vitriolic. Most of those, interestingly enough, were from those who had never seen my show!
Last year, when Sound of Music was presented LIVE on television, most that tuned in decided to make it a "snark fest" thanks to Twitter and Facebook. For three hours, many viewers stayed with the broadcast knocking it at every turn. It happened again this year with Peter Pan Live. The sad statistic is MOST of the comments are coming from people who are "in the industry", or rather, those that THINK they are in the industry. What is it in our nature to knock those that are trying to create. I have learned the hard way over the past five years that there are those that create and those that destroy.
Some day, when the time is right, I will be able to elborate on that. Listen to what Judy Garland says about embarking upon the new year. She spoke those words 51 years ago and the message holds true.
As I move towards closing the curtain on this year, and opening the door on the next one, my hope is that we ALL try to support each other instead of tearing each other down. My hope for 2015 is a snark free year.
Now, Go see a LIVE show!

Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,



 
Check out my site celebrating the first Fifty Years of Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!



Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!                

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
      
 







Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Many Sounds of Daniel Brondel

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Versatile musician Daniel Brondel is the Associate Director of Music at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where he plays Masses each week that are broadcast live on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
He is also the Associate Director of the Cathedral Choir, and he manages the organ recital series and the visiting choirs concert series. He performs solo recitals in the United States and France, and has also appeared as soloist in piano concertos of Mozart and Rachmaninoff, and organ concertos of Poulenc and Jongen.
 Mr. Brondel is the Artistic Director of The Salvatones, a new vibrant professional choral ensemble based in New York City. He made his Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) debut in 2010 as narrator in a performance of Erik Satie's Sports et divertissements. Daniel has also recorded and appeared regularly as countertenor soloist (Schnittke’s Requiem and Bach’s B-minor Mass) with Grammy-Award-winner Paul Halley, and has sung with the Gentlemen of the Choir of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.
He has performed extensively in oratorios of Bach and Handel, and in opera, notably the lead role of Oberon in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Praised for a colorful timbre and an exceptionally wide vocal range, he is featured as solo sopranist in Aural Borealis, a CD recording by award-winning Publick Musick. His first solo-organ album, The Glory of the Organ, recorded at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in 2010 on the JAV label, is available in the Cathedral’s Gift Shop, from JAV Recordings and on iTunes.

As if that isn't enough, he is the artistic director of The Many Sounds of Christmas, a NEW New York  Holiday Tradition, which premiers in New York next weekend. I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes from Daniel's busy schedule earlier this week and discuss the path that has brought him to this point and what lies ahead. Today, I celebrate Daniel Brondel's body of "worth".
 Daniel grew up loving music hoping that someday he would be able to make a career out of being a musician. His family, however, was trying to encourage him towards a more "realistic", perhaps less creative profession. They, of course, were concerned with the difficulty of the life of a musician or anyone in a creative profession. It wasn't THEIR plan that Daniel would become a professional musician. The profession, however, found HIM. It actually became the "path of least resistance". That's where he had the most potential. He also had a strong predilection towards it.
Once he moved to America and high school and encountered people who discovered that he was a pretty decent musician. They encouraged him to follow his passion and not to worry about money. He was told that it would come once he was fully following his path and passion. Daniel was definitely afraid that their encouragement was more cliche than real. Rather than it turning out that being a musician was not always the right thing to do,  it WAS the right thing to do.
He did have a PLAN B, but he hasn't needed it yet.
Daniel started getting music jobs when he was in college in Atlanta, Georgia. That was around 1991. He started out making "very little money", but money, nonetheless. After college, he went on to graduate school for music. On a parallel track to school, he continued with school AND work. He started making a
professional living around 2001.  
What does Daniel do when he needs a little "nonsense" in his life? He gets "nonsense" in his every day life.
Musicians work in a very interesting field. They work with a lot of creative people and there is a certain amount of nonsense built into that. He does like to hang out with friends who are not necessarily in the profession. He has wonderful friends who appreciate music, but the basis of the friendship is not music. That is a really great outlet.
What does Daniel want more than anything else?
What makes him get up in the morning is the desire to improve people's lives through music. Besides fame and money, Daniel would like a sense of accomplishment that his mission is getting accomplished and that what he does actually has a good impact.
When Daniel is working on a project, he is always focused on the finished product. He keeps asking himself what is going to be the audience's experience?
What is it going to be as they are actually listening to the music. Is it going to be a serious experience? Is it going to be an entertaining experience? Is it going to be a fun experience? Those things are important to Daniel. He would like to include a variety of experiences, and he does desire to make people feel better after they hear his music than before they heard it.
His subtext is wondering if his own personal mission as a musician is being fulfilled to improve people's lives through music.
The Many Sounds of Christmas 
A NEW New York City holiday tradition! This year’s addition will feature The Salvatones (vocal ensemble), New York Virtuosi (String Ensemble), Stephen Fraser (Organist), all under the direction of Daniel Brondel.
Daniel's hope for all that attend is that they will all experience a strong sense of the Christmas spirit and the Christmas feeling. A feeling of joy and happiness and hope for the new year. 
He hopes that it will evoke warm feelings of childhood and youth and that they believe in the Christmas miracle of the holiday. The Many Sounds of Christmas is specifically designed to hopefully achieve that. It will have famous Christmas carols. 
It will have choral arrangements of Christmas songs that people will recognize. It will have some of the best known excerpts from Handel's Messiah. It will also have music by a string orchestra that will evoke cozy memories of the holidays sitting by a cozy fire. People will be able to listen. They will be able to sing along. 
Most of all, they will fill the joy of the performers. That music is always fun to perform. The audience should get a sense that they are part of something fun and entertaining and joyful.
The Salvatones have plans to continue with non holiday music after these concerts. They have standards in their repertoire. They are also performing some pop songs that are arranged for a Capella vocal ensembles and other pieces that other people have arranged. They also have arrangements by an excellent local New York choral and vocal arranger, Roger Wesby, who is based at Wagner College on Staten Island.
His arrangements seem to be an excellent fit for The Salvatones. Lots of different types of harmonies on tunes you wouldn't expect from a vocal ensemble, especially convincingly. After the holidays, the Salvatones are also going to be working on a holiday album. They definitely desire to record some of the music they are learning now for the CD.
Every group seems to have a holiday album and they will be tackling that as well.  They are also hoping to make some videos of their performance of Fields of Gold. They are hoping to film in the country to present something different. They are also seeking out new venues to perform in throughout the city and around the country just so they can get better at what they do.
Everyone who hears them is excited about having heard them. Here in New York, there are so many other performers. To somehow break out and make a name for yourself is the goal. They are utilizing social media and trying to get those bookings.
They are definitely a young group. A young group as far as making inroads is concerned.
Daniel is absolutely sure that he is doing exactly what he SHOULD be doing at this point in his life.
He trusts that life, the Universe, or God, has looked out for him. He has been able to love every opportunity
that has come his way.
He has also worked very hard for these opportunities. Not just to get them, but everything he has done, and keeps doing, feels right to him. He is fulfilling his destiny, "whatever that is." He is the head of The Salvatones. They were born out of what was supposed to be a one time thing. They were having  so much fun in the process of getting ready for that, that in the process, they decided that they should keep going to see where it goes. The Salvatones has taken on a life of its own and it has been a very pleasant surprise and an enjoyable experience. It continues to be and is thrilling. How can one question if that is meant to be? It is the perfect thing to be doing. There is so much to do and they keep getting better and better and people enjoy hearing them.
If Daniel could change one thing about the business, it would be the perception that the arts aren't essential in our society. He would like to change the perception that culture is not important. To a lot of people, culture IS important, but it doesn't
necessarily get them riled up to make sure that their local school boards are making sure that culture and arts and music is in their schools, that their communities have cultural or musical programs. Most artists are also not properly compensated for putting together a concert or exhibit or show. The perception is that they just show up and do it and getting paid for that is superfluous. The perception need to change that music is JUST entertainment.
Daniel's own family did not think of music as a viable profession. Daniel's own family in Europe did not respect his career choice until he was already the associate director of music at St. Patrick's Cathedral for about a year.
He is not directing his family's opinion on anyone else. There is, however, this wide perception in society that music is not really viable or a "serious" career. The same is true of other areas of our arts and culture. The mission of The Salvatones is to prove that music is vital to humanity. There are so many studies that show the importance of arts and especially when music is applied in our lives or learning a musical instrument. It is still strange to
Daniel that society ignores that. He hopes to see more use of arts and music in school curriculums and in our society, overall.
Daniel cannot imagine The Many Sounds of Christmas not being a part of his life now. Even if it is not embraced by lower Manhattan (although advance ticket sales has been great!), they will find another area. Daniel believes that it is a great concert as a program. It is not just choral singing. It is not just a string ensemble as well as an organist.
It is all of these things combined expertly together. It's the variety that makes for an entertaining and enjoying concert for people.
For those that are involved, it has been great collaborating with each other. This is a project that they hope to keep growing and developing beyond next week's concerts. They have a killer concept that WILL become a tradition here in New York. That is their goal and hope. The concept of doing a holiday concert downtown came to fruition in the late spring and the early summer. Around that time, Daniel was having dinner with the pastor of St. Peter's downtown. They have known each other for many years. He used to be the Master of Ceremonies at St. Patrick's Cathedral where Daniel has been working for six and a half years. They have a good relationship. The pastor was telling Daniel about this new Four Seasons hotel which is being built nearby. There is a lot of activity there and it is close to the old World Trade Center site. There will be a lot of people in that region especially around the holidays.
Daniel thought that it would be wonderful to have a holiday concert at his church. Daniel was thinking that The Salvatones could perform. It took him by surprise at how fast it grew. Once Daniel spoke to Salvatore Diana about this, it became an idea that started making sense. There is nothing going on except the annual Messiah at Trinity Church on Wall Street. There is no other major Christmas or holiday event. The hope is that they are now creating something. 
They collaborated with Peter Kiral, who is the head of The New York Virtuosi. It brought it all together. Discussions started in June. By July, they were already developing a concept of what music to use.
In closing, The Many Sounds of Christmas is the realization of the Christmas feeling.Joyful, Happy, Hopeful feeling, Enchanting, great holiday music. Let;s all go back to those happy Christmas feelings as kids. I hope that all that read this who will be in New York on December 21st and 22nd will help be kickstart Christmas week!



Click HERE to go to The Many Sounds of Christmas Website.

Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,



 
Check out my site celebrating the first Fifty Years of Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!



Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!                

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

IF you like this blog, please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook



Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
      

Sunday, December 7, 2014

J.T. Tepnapa and Something Like Summer

J.T. Tepnapa
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

I feel more and more with every passing day that my purpose for being on this planet is to preserve the history of our arts. As passionate as I am about its past, I am just as excited about its future. I love it when I get the opportunity to share a rising talent or a talented artist who is not known on a wider scale, but should be. It amazes me on a daily basis how much attention is given to those who have very little to offer beyond the crap that is foisted upon us on a daily basis. Thank you TMZ for celebrating this!
I desire through my work to celebrate those that deserve to be celebrated, so today, I am excited to share with you JT Tepnapa.
I first became aware of JT because of a crowd funding campaign for an independent film called Something Like Summer.JT is an American writer, producer, actor, and director. Tepnapa has made several short films since 2000 with his company, Blue Seraph Productions. His most awarded film is Masturbation: Putting the Fun Into Self-Loving.

We sat down recently to discuss the journey that has brought him to this point and his plans for his own future.
Like most, it started with exposure to acting when he was a kid. He credits his high school choir director for starting him on this path. As it is in most of these cases, she needed more boys for the high school musical. She asked him to audition and he got cast in his first musical, Guys and Dolls.He got the part of Lt. Brannigan.He was so nervous to play this part. However, once he was on stage and under the lights, and got a few laughs, he was hooked on entertainment. He ended up doing a lot of musicals in high school including Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly!, and the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
When he graduated and went to college, his major was acting. Living in Hollywood, he eventually got an agent and tried doing the Hollywood route. He just wasn't getting the parts he desired. Because of that, he started writing his own stuff. He started off by writing short films and putting himself in them. He didn't have anyone to direct so he directed his own projects.
He ended up finding a love in directing. Even more so than acting. He feels that there are so many talented actors out there. It has been so much fun to work with them and to create a performance.
There isn't anything else that JT loves more. He has had nine to five jobs, some he actually liked. They paid the bills and certainly entertainment jobs don't always do that! This passion that JT has to create makes him feel like an artist. He isn't a painter, for example, but he IS creating something and it is a collaborative art form. A lot of people are helping to create. It feels good and it is allowing JT to express something and to share something with as many people as possible. It feels great and he is compelled to keep doing that.
As stated earlier, this journey began in high school and continued through college. His first short film was Sunflowers, which was a gay romantic short. That was in 1999.

What does JT do when he desires a little "nonsense" in his life?

He turns to his husband. He is an artist, too. He paints. He is very funny and he always makes JT laugh. They also have an annual pass to Disneyland.
They just go out to Disneyland for a few hours and have fun and be kids for the day.
What does JT desire more than anything?
To win an Oscar is the easy answer! In all honesty, what he truly desires is to inspire people, to tell stories that He wants to make a difference in people's lives. Movies can have that opportunity, the really good ones can do that. He doesn't feel that he is at that level now, but it is a goal.
One director that inspired JT was Stephen Spielberg with Schindler's List. It is a teachable movie. That is what JT loves seeing and that is what he desires to create, movies that only entertain, but teach.

Something Like Summer
Judas Kiss was JT's first movie which he wrote. Something Like Summer, his current project, is based on a best selling novel by the same name, written by Jay Bell. 
The novel came to JT via Tom Ly who needed a director attached to it. 
JT suggested bringing on his entire production company to produce it. 
Carlos Pedraza, who also helped JT write Judas Kiss is also writer on Something Like Summer's screenplay. 
Something Like Summer tells the story of the relationship of Ben Bentley and Tim Wyman over the course of a dozen years, starting when they get together in high school, go their separate ways, then try for a second chance, only to face the worst kind of failure. 
The novel won widespread praise from readers on Amazon.com (4.6 stars out of 5), Apple’s i Bookstore (4.5 stars) and Good reads (4.2 stars). 
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr — all have proven themselves as platforms for readers of all ages, genders and backgrounds to share their heartbreak, joy, nostalgia and inspiration from this story of true love discovered, sundered, rediscovered, torn apart and delicately re-knit.
The main characters are both artists, which appeals to JT. The main character, Ben Bentley is a musician, and the love of his life is a painter. 
It is about artists growing up and learning, not necessarily about coming out, but coming to terms with being artists. Although all of these elements are there, it is more about coming to terms with who they are and what kind of people they desire to be and that, kind of, fires JT up and makes him want to make a great movie. 
Is JT sure that he is doing what he should be doing?
He is sure that he is doing EXACTLY what he should be doing RIGHT NOW. 

That can change. He started out as an actor. That's what he loved doing at the time and he loves performing, but then, he found this love of directing. He doesn't know what his future will be.
He thinks he will just go where his gut takes him. Right now, it's directing and making movies that feels right for him at this stage in his life. Ten or twenty years from now, it might be something else. 

One issue that is facing a lot of film makers these days are free downloads. 
People are streaming films on iTunes and Netflix. Since the industry is fast
changing into a digital industry, JT would like to see a "one stop" shopping site for people to have access to these movies and that it would be as easy as it is for people to go buy a movie ticket. Certain aspects of ticket purchasing has already been ingrained in most of us. 
It should be so easy for everyone, whether they are in the United States, or anywhere else in the world, and easily, and economically, purchase a movie. Currently, the film industry is suffering and losing business. JT is not blaming the consumer. 
He feels that it is up to those in the film industry to find a way to "allow" people to have easier access to film. It has to be a one click kind of deal. 
iTunes is getting close but it needs to be universal and his major goal is for people to be able to see his movies. He would like it to be whatever people can afford. 
JT cannot imagine NOT dong what he does. He has been in a couple of places in his life in which he was not doing what he should have been doing.   
One was a nine to five job, but that led him on his journey to Judas Kiss. It is about a "thirty something" being given the opportunity to go back in time and talk to his younger self and try and convince his younger self to take a different path. 
That came out of a rough patch in JT's life. The second time that JT found himself not doing what he should be doing took place last year. He was between movies and it was a very difficult time for him. It felt like a block. That occurs when he feels he cannot create. He just doesn't feel like an artist. He doesn't feel like he can express himself unless he has some kind of an artistic outlet.

JT doesn't know if he STANDS out among others in this industry. There is no denying the fact that this industry is over run with talented artists. JT is still learning. Something Like Summer is his third movie. He admits that he still has a lot to learn and a lot to grow upon. He thinks, for independent movies, he has a lot of opportunities that maybe a lot of people that are in the same boat don't have.
He shares his passion with people and he thinks that because of that, that doors open up and opportunities come his way. That is how this third film has come about.

That is so incredible! There are so many people out there who don't get the opportunity to make their FIRST film for whatever reason. Then, there are those that make their first feature, and then, for whatever reason, that becomes the only thing that they make. JT is pretty excited that he can continue to make movies and that will hopefully continue. 
JT has been told that he is an actor's director, someone who really focuses on performances and really "gets in there" and loves the nuance and the texture and everything that is needed to craft a "perfect" performance or, to JT, is as natural as possible. He loves that part. As for "hands on" or "hands off", that is an area in which he is still growing as a director. When he did his short films, he was
Working on Judas Kiss (JT with flag)
"hands on" because is was everything, the first AD (Assistant Director), the costume designer, AND the make up artist, so he was obviously "hands on" with that! In Judas Kiss, he was somewhat "hands off" because he was focused on the acting. He allowed all the departments to do their thing.

For this movie, Something Like Summer, he is going to be much more "hands on" because the movie covers twelve years. There has to be this cohesiveness between the production design, the makeup, and the costumes, especially. 
It is his job to make sure everyone is on the same page. His hands will be in a lot of different pots. 

Even though JT lives in Los Angeles, he is not really a part of the Hollywood scene.His opinions of the business in the short time that he has been a part of it hasn't changed. His idea has always been that it is based on the BIG productions. It is a difficult wall to break through. He also knows that you don't have to break through that wall to have a career. Create your own career. 
That is what he has done with Kickstarter and Indigogo. They have gone straight to the fans and have asked, "Hey! Do you desire to see this movie made? If you would like to see this movie made, please be a part of it and help us make it." The only thing that has changed is how much they have gone straight to their audience.
JT and Adam
That is what these small independent movies have to do today. As it is for so many other independent filmmakers, crowd funding makes up an important part of the financing mix for our projects. It proves to potential investors and distributors that there's an audience for the stories that need to be told.

We've already touched upon JT's husband, Adam Browne. As mentioned, he also is an artist. How do they balance it all? They have had discussions on this very issue. There is a bit of craziness in making movies. JT tries to keep a lot of that out of the house.
Whenever there is some big production happening, instead of having meetings at their home, JT tries to take it to a restaurant or some other place. 
JT tries to, in some way, shield him from that, because he doesn't necessarily like it. 
When JT is in business mode, he is very serious. He desires things to be done a certain way. Adam can get caught up in that because JT can ask HIM for things since he is an artist. JT will ask him, for example, "Hey! Can you design some wine bottles for me?" or "I'm shooting a video. Can you..." JT tries and puts a limit on that. 

However, that being said, right now, JT has taken apart their living room and have created a mini studio where they are recording videos for the next thirty days for their campaign, but JT keeps telling Adam, "It's only thirty days, baby! We'll take it down. I promise." JT asks as politely and nicely as possible and hopes for a yes. 
The advice that JT would give to anyone desiring to go into this profession is that if you desire to go in to it, you should. 
Don't start off with a feature. Start off with short films. 
Short horror film IN THE CLOSET, starring JT Tepnapa

There are a lot of "mistakes" along the way. Make those and learn and grow. 
JT also worked on Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, a web series, for seven years. It was a great place to learn as well.He played an openly gay star fleet character, Lt. Corey Aster. A movie can be made for practically nothing with the right resources. JT has a friend that made a film for five hundred dollars that toured a hundred film festivals and won many awards. It's possible. Just jump in, give it a try and see if you like it. You may go in thinking you like directing, only to find out that what you really like is acting or costume design. It's a great learning experience doing short films.
Check out the campaign video for Something Like Summer 
More and more young people are "coming out" these days. It is great that they feel comfortable coming out at a young age. At the same time, it doesn't necessarily make things easier for them. They are still getting bullied in school. Even more so, because of their openness. A movie like Something Like Summer, and not just this film, but many LGBT movies need to be out there. They need to be made. They need to be on screen to show that we need more representation of who we are on screen. Something Like Summer is just that.
Often people don't go for what they truly desire. They may have an idea of what they want in life, but it has to be acted upon. Sit down and think about what your heart desires. This is IT! Make the best of it and inspire each other. 
JT first got attached to Something Like Summer, the book, because he, too, went through similar experiences. He had a high school crush that turned into something romantic. That went on for about four years. They never called each other "boy friend". They never thought of each other in terms of a "relationship". 
That period forged many of the opinions of JT's own sexuality and the kind of person he desired to be.When he read the book, he connected to it. A lot of people have had similar experiences growing up with puberty, love, and confusion and trying to make sense of it all. Something Like Summer responds to those thoughts.Many have been able to put themselves into the book, and, now, put themselves into the movie and see themselves and their experiences acted out. We get to make sense of that chaotic period of our lives. For younger people, there is hope that it will all make sense as you get older. People in their thirties and up can look back on this in a nostalgic way and enjoy reliving those experiences. In some ways, maybe some of those moments can be reclaimed from our teenaged years. 
Click HERE to read another article on JT Tepnapa.

Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,



 
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Dancers Over 40 Honors their own, at the 6th annual
DO40 LEGACY AWARDS AND HOLIDAY DINNER
Monday, December 8th, 6 – 9pm
LIPS RESTAURANT, 227 East 56th St., NYC

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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
Judas Kiss director JT Tepnapa and star Richard Harmon on Times Square, late night, New York City