Monday, June 27, 2011

Experience attending the True Blood S4 Premiere

As featured on The Vault -

I moved to California last year at this time and because I was such a newbie to LA, and didn't have a clue of even where to go, I wasn't able to attend the Season 3 Premiere of True Blood. I was very disappointed that I couldn't go, so I made up my mind, then and there, that I wasn't going to miss it this year! Therefore, on Tuesday, June 21, I went to the Arclight Theater in Hollywood to participate in the "fan experience" at the True Blood Season 4 Premiere.

I had arranged to go with some friends and we were originally planning to arrive at the Arclight Theater around 2pm, but when I woke up on Tuesday morning, there was a text telling me to get there double quick because the line of fans had already started. I quickly got all my supplies together, Sharpies - check, 3 magazines to have Alex, Ryan and Stephen sign for charity - check, cameras (video and still) - check, as well as, all the other stuff I would need. Once I had all I needed packed up, I headed to the theater in downtown Hollywood. I was there to meet up with the cast of True Blood and get Alexander Skarsgard, Ryan Kwanten and Stephen Moyer to sign magazines for our 2011 Fundraiser.

When I arrived at the theater, I was OK because there weren't a lot of people there yet and we were first in line. Also, neither the red carpet nor the barricades had yet been set up. My friends were all anxious for that to happen because they wanted to insure a prime spot and they couldn't do that until things got set up. They had arrived well before me (they were kind enough to save me a spot), and weren't going to give up first in line to anyone. I was glad to be with them; they are pros at attending these sort of events.

At about noon, the trucks arrived with all of the equipment, and the first thing they did was set up the fan section. It was very close to the red carpet this year and therefore, much easier for the cast members to see the fans and come over to sign autographs and say. "hello." Yea, a real piece of good luck!
Trucks getting ready to set up the red carpet area.
This is all the gear used for setting up.  This was our view of the red carpet.

It was a beautiful sunny day and everyone was excited that things were finally beginning to happen. It wasn’t very hot, probably about 80 degrees (26c), but when you are standing in the sun with no shade for 10 hours, and smashed up against a lot of hot fans, it really was stifling, in our spot behind the barricades. This was where the fans were to be contained, as I later started referring to as, “the cage“. It was about four people wide and produced a long line that extended around the corner. We got right up front in the most “prime” spot which enabled us to see all the action and to attract the most attention. While we were waiting I must have consumed two bottles of water, but yet was still thirsty. As the day wore on, the technology really started to appear with lots of lighting and camera equipment needed for the event. Also, more and more fans began to show up.
Equipment being set up for the Red Carpet

It seemed like the sun would never stop shining on us, and we wilted more and more, but when the press arrived, even-though we knew they would block our view of the Red Carpet, our spirits perked up. At least now that the press were in attendance, we knew that the True Blood Cast couldn't be far behind. And about 6pm or so, the cast did begin to arrive. The first one on the red carpet was Tara Buck, who plays Ginger in the show. I know Tara and she is the sweetest and nicest, not to mention a really talented person. When she came up to me, she gave me a big hug and said she loved the Vault. Jim Parrack, also came directly to me first and gave a big hug and a hello.
The crowds on the Red Carpet

Tara Buck, the first to arrive signing autographs
That was the way for me, most of the time, many cast members thanking me for the work that Shadaliza and I do on The Vault. I'd like to send a special "thank you for stopping by and saying, Hi to the Vault" to Alexander Skarsgård, Jim Parrack, Kristin Bauer, Chris Bauer, Deborah Ann Woll, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Tara Buck, Ryan Kwanten, Lauren Bowles, Nelsan Ellis, and Sam Trammell. There were lots of new cast members that I met at the event, and it was nice to see them, too. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about all the cast and crew of True Blood; they are the nicest bunch of people you could ever meet. Then things started to really pick up and lots of cast members began arriving quickly. We could see them from our location, but there were so many cameras and press people in front of us, it was difficult to get any really good photos while they were on the red carpet.

Photos can be found in the Photo Gallery.

Below are several videos of the cast documenting the experience of them among the fans to sign autographs.

Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten and Nelsan Ellis


Alexander Skarsgård


True Blood Cast sign autographs at True Blood S4 Premiere #1 - Kristin Bauer, Marshall Allman, Jim Parrack, Carrie Preston, Brit Morgan, Fiona Dourif and new cast members.


True Blood Cast sign autographs at True Blood S4 Premiere #2 - Tara Buck, Joe Manganiello, Deborah Ann Woll, Chris Bauer Sam Trammell, Todd Lowe and new cast members.


True Blood Cast sign autographs at True Blood S4 Premiere #3 - Lauren Bowles and True Blood newbies, Fiona Shaw, Annie Fitzgerald, Stephanie Erb, Courtney Ford, and Dean Chekvala


Once the cast went into the theater, the fan experience was over for me. However, some of the fans decided to stay until the screening of Episode 1 ended in hopes of seeing the cast's departure to the after party. I wasn't up for that, so I went home. If you want to see some "departure and arrival videos", we have them on the Vault that you can see by clicking here. Thanks to all the cast for being so generous to their loyal and devoted fans!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Premiere of Jim Parrack’s film – POST

As featured on The Vault -

On Friday, June 10, 2011 the Playhouse West Film Festival opened at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood. On this opening night, I attended the Premiere of Jim Parrack’s new film, POST.

We all know Jim as Hoyt Fortenberry on True Blood, and now we see him branching out of acting into other realms. “Post” is Jim’s directorial debut and was an extremely personal experience for him.

Jim Parrack and Lynnpd
His wife, Ciera and his best friend Scott star together in the film and Jim uses not only most of his family but a lot of his friends as actors. As I said, it’s an extremely personal film that brought Jim out of a bad experience in filmmaking and made it into a good one.

About Playhouse West: It is a training ground for actors, writers and directors founded by Robert Carnegie and Jeff Goldblum in 1981. Highly regarded and recommended by industry professionals as the premiere acting school in the country, many of their members go on to work at the highest level within the entertainment business.

In addition to the festival’s showing of Post on opening night, Jim also is seen in another film called “Simone”, directed by Wolfgang Bodison about a young black woman and her white boyfriend who are forced to make important life decisions involving class, race and love.

Before we saw the film last Friday, I attended the “red carpet” event for the Playhouse West Film Festival. Earlier in the week, I had met with Jim at his house with Ciera and Scott and interviewed the three about the film. You can see that interview, in which Jim talks about the experience and how the film saved him here.

Below are some photos and pictures from the Red Carpet Premiere event. In addition to Jim and Scott, the four women together, in the photos, are: Olivia Dudek, Ciera Parrack, Katie Ryan, and Katherine Boecher. In the first row of photos you see Abri van Straten, who did a beautiful job of writing the original music for the film. 

Below is a video from the Red Carpet that includes the ladies in the movie (the dancers) Olivia Dudek, Ciera Parrack, Katie Ryan, Katherine Boecher along with Scott and finally, Jim.

As Ciera tells us, Post is a story that travels from tradegy to hope. It’s about a woman named, Sophia who after repeated attempts to avoid reality has alienated from herself, her friends and her art. This dancer must confront a simple but terrifying problem; die or face the most horrific truths about her life with the hope that freedom, joy and healing will bring her back to life. In the film, we see Ciera’s Sophia living with the tragedy and we feel her torment. Scott Haze plays a military man and someone that is also associated with this tragedy and the two grieving people come to experience much together.

As Jim’s first try at directing, I found Post to be more that satisfying. There are several scenes that I thought were exceptional. The scene on the beach when we first meet Scott’s character, all the scenes at his home in Texas with his family, but the last scene in the film for me was the best. It is very touching and gives us all hope for a better future. His family are remarkable as are Ciera and Scott in the lead roles. I am still amazed that the film was shot without a crew, without a single lighting set up and is exclusively acted by either non-actors or members of Playhouse West.

To a packed house (the premiere was sold out), we all watched Post and I am happy to report that I think it is definitely worth seeing. After the film ended and the lights came up, Jim and Ciera came to the stage and held a very fascinating Q&A. During the Q&A Jim elaborates on the story he told during the earlier interview about what inspired him to make the film, and it’s certainly worth hearing. Below, in 5 parts, is that Q&A with the Parracks. You might need to let the videos load before playing.

Part 1 of Q&A

Part 2 of Q&A

Part 3 of Q&A

Part 4 of Q&A

Part 4 of Q&A

At the end of the Festival, we all learned that Jim’s film had swept the awards winning Best Film, Best Directing, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor. The Best Actor award although didn’t go to anyone in Post, it stayed in the family as True Blood’s Marshall Allman took home that prize. Also at the event was True Blood’s Alexander Woo; which is a testament to the stories that True Blood really is a family.

I want to thank Jim for letting me into this very personal experience of his and to Ciera and to Scott who were not only wonderful in the film, but have been so generous with their time. I think this is the beginning of something for Jim and I wish him the best with it. John Cassavetes is looking down smiling, I know.

Thanks to Shadaliza for preparing the red carpet video, thanks to M’Lou for shooting the Q&A and to Filmchick for sharing some of her photos.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Vault Exclusive: Denis O’Hare – Alternative Families Panel

As featured on The Vault -


True Blood’s Denis O’Hare participated in a panel discussion for The Los Angeles Times’ 3rd Annual “The Envelope: Primetime Emmy Screening Series” on June 7, 2011 in Los Angeles. I attended the event and got a chance to meet Denis before the panel started.

Denis arrived all on his own, not in a limo like many of the other participants did. He was walking outside when I got a chance to run up and hand him my Vault business card and get a quick photo with him. Just like all the other True Blood cast members, Denis was very gracious and just as animated as I thought he’d be.

This evening’s panel was the “next to last” in the series and was titled, “The Alternative Families Panel.” It was hosted by Times TV critic Mary McNamara and featured Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Cloris Leachman (“Raising Hope”) and Peter Krause (“Parenthood”).

The audience consisted of mostly Screen Actors Guild members (they were given preference for seating), and I was a “stand by” audience member. Evenso, I got in easily and found a great seat in the third row. The actors came out individually after being introduced by the commentator Mary McNamara.

Lynnpd with Denis O'Hare outside the theater before the performance.
The commentator said that Denis’ show had the most “out there” family of the group. I suppose vampires must have pretty “wacky” families. However, I was curious about the “alternative familes” topic chosen as the title for this panel, because I wasn’t sure what True Blood had to do with it, however Denis explained all. He talked a lot about his True Blood partner, Talbot (played in the show by Theo Alexander). He said that his relationship with Talbot was the only really “stable” relationship and unlike humans, vampires “make” their families. He also talked about the True Blood cast and crew that has become like a family and how everyone loves each other on the show. I have heard this about the cast and crew of True Blood over and over. I know it must be true because every person I have met from True Blood is kind and generous and I’d like to somehow be adopted, too!
Below are videos from the Q&A panel representing most of Denis’ contributions. Oh, and I got to ask him a question, during the audience Q&A. I asked Denis what he based his characterization of the King upon and, although his answer was a good one, it presented more questions than answers for me. He goes on later to discuss the scene between he and Stephen Moyer in episode 4 and how long it took to shoot it and how they had done it in several different ways.

I so enjoyed Denis speaking about acting since he is such an exceptional example of the art. While Denis speaks very passionately about it, he also is as animated as you’d expect him to be and he and Cloris Leachman are very funny together.
Alternative Family Panel Part 1:

Alternative Family Panel Part 2:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Interview with True Blood's Jim Parrack on new film: "Post"

As featured on The Vault -

Jim Parrack’s has just completed a very personal and lovely film, called “POST” which premiered last Friday night at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, CA. I attended the Premiere and will report on it shortly. It’s pretty miraculous that this film is completely Jim’s invention, and he was the entire crew.

Last week, I asked Jim if he would sit for an interview with me to discuss his new film. He invited me to his home to do so and on Wednesday, June 7, I met with him, his wife Ciera and his friend Scott Haze.

Ciera is the star of the film playing the part of Sophia along with Scott who also stars in the role of a marine. While Sophia is the story’s focus, both characters are linked to each other by an event that is explained in the film. As you will hear when viewing the interview, Jim had a good sized cast in the film that included his family, as well as Glee’s Heather Morris and Mark Pelligrino from Lost and Supernatural.

After we enjoyed a very good bowl of soup, in their comfortable kitchen, the three actors sat down with me for the interview. At the end of Part 2, Jim reveals a couple of True Blood Season 4 secrets, well, sort of. Watch the two part interview below:


Be sure to watch for my upcoming coverage of the Premiere from last Friday that should be online sometime this week!

Thanks to Jim, Ciera and Scott for taking the time to speak to me.

And, thanks to Shadaliza for compiling and adding special effects to the videos.