Interview with actor, Robert John Burke

Today I’m welcoming actor, Robert John Burke. Thank you, Bobby for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am frighteningly ordinary.

 

 

How did you get into the career of acting?

I got into acting through an experimental acting class in my high school. It also offered an internship with the professional equity acting company. Then it was onto college, where I attended the acting conservatory at SUNY purchase.

 

 

In one of your earlier films, you played the role of the well-known character of Alex Murphy in RoboCop 3. What was it like playing the part of a cyborg?

It was very daunting playing RoboCop three. I thought Peter Weller did such an amazing job that it should have been left alone. No Peter no sequel. I was resistant for about eight months and then I finally acquiesced. The physical demands of the role were great. It involved movement training with a man named Moni Yakin, who had also worked with Peter. He is a teacher at the Juilliard school and he’s amazing. I think if I did anything at all right in that role, I owe it to him.

 

 

In the horror film titled, Thinner, (that was based on Stephen King’s novel) you portrayed the main character of Billy Halleck. Tell us about that and did you encounter any challenges in playing such a diverse role?

Thinner was the ultimate role for me to play. Getting to hide under five hours of make up should excite any actor. But the schedule was pretty grueling. I would get in the make up chair at 2 o’clock in the morning to be ready to start shooting at 7 AM. Then shoot to about 10 PM in the evening.

I was a little disappointed with the way the film turned out. There were lots of different directions that people were pulling it in. Although I must say, quite a few people really enjoyed that film. Meeting Stephen King was a complete thrill.

 

 

Your other on-screen accomplishments include Limitless, 2 Guns, Safe and Dust Devil, just to name a few. Aside from your films, you’re also on the t.v. series: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Allegiance, Banshee, Nurse Jackie, Army Wives, and Rescue Me… (the impressive list goes on)… How do you maintain such a balanced schedule?

On paper it can look like I’m doing a lot of different projects. The reality is that I lead a very balanced life. There were times when I was doing two and three television shows at a time. But somehow it was always manageable. And to tell you the truth, it keeps things interesting that are a hell of a lot of fun.

 

 

Is there any one role that you find in particular to be your absolute favorite?

People ask you what’s the most fun or is there any one role that you find to be your favorite. I think there are several for different reasons. I’ve met a lot of really amazing people on all the productions I’ve been on. Got to travel to exotic and beautiful places. The work I’m most proud of is probably the work that the least amount of people have seen. Films like First Love Last Rites, The Unbelievable Truth, and No Such Thing, are among my favorites.

 

 

Aside from being an actor, you’re also a NY State Certified Firefighter. You helped with the rescue efforts during 9/11, mind telling everyone about that? 

My best friend was in FDNY, captain named Patrick J. Brown. He fell on 9/11/01. Because all of Long Island New York is voluntary fire service, I decided to join my local department and dedicate my service to his memory. It’s been 16 years. I think I missed my True calling.

 

 

What’s next for Robert John Burke?

I’ve taken some time off recently but I’m also developing several projects and working hard on them.

 

 

Where can fans follow you and your work?

I don’t really have a website or anything like that. Sometimes I’ll post pictures of a particular project I’m working on on social media. Certain shows I’ve been on, particularly SVU have legions of very loyal enthusiastic fans. So I treat them with great respect and try and post stuff that keeps them in the loop.

 

 

Any positive words of advice you’d like to share?

I rarely give advice. But I do make suggestions. I suggest people remember to be kind to each other. And I say remember because people forget. I have a coffee mug that says “be kind” on it. It reminds me because I don’t ever want to forget to extend even the smallest gesture to another person that could mean a great deal to that person at that moment. If we take care of the little stuff, the big stuff takes care of itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Auld Lang Syne

“Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and auld (old) lang syne?” Ahhh…. the long familiar song associated with this time of year.

Auld Lang Syne: “For (the sake of) old times.”

‘Tis the end of another year, my friends. 2016 is coming to a close as 2017 approaches. Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I sure did. I was extremely grateful to spend a relaxing holiday at home with my family. We carried on the annual Christmas Eve tradition of driving around looking at the local Christmas decorations and lights as we sipped on our milkshakes. Then, once we arrived home we watched the classic film, A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, along with Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon who played his parents and Ian Petrella who played his pesky little brother, Randy. My family and I have seen the movie countless times, but every time we watch it, it still cracks us up.

And then on Christmas day, we stayed home opening our gifts as we sat by the fireplace. It was definitely a wonderful time!

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year and I’m certainly ready for it. Are you? I’ve got some exciting projects that I’ll be working on and I promise to keep you all posted with the updates as time progresses. I’m really looking forward to this next year! What does 2017 have in store for you? I’d love to hear about it! What are some of your holiday traditions and what exciting plans have you got for the upcoming year?

As we celebrate this festive holiday season, always be safe and enjoy. Life is for remembering, not regretting!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

~ Love & Light, Sheila

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Happy Halloween!!!

I know it’s a day early, but I just wanted to take a very special moment to wish you all a Happy Halloween! As I’ve said before, this is my absolute fave time of year. The temperatures become cooler, warm Autumn smells fill the air and holiday baked goodies tend to be at their yummiest!

Carving pumpkins has always been a huge tradition with my family. The creativity involved just adds to the excitement. And then… there’s the baking of the pumpkin seeds! Right before putting them in the oven, I like to add some sea salt to give them a little extra bit of deliciousness. Oh, and did I mention that as we carved pumpkins yesterday, we baked nearly three dozen peanut butter cookies. Yes, we did and I would love to share them with you! 🙂

There’s also the marathon of fave horror movies to make this haunted holiday all the scarier. Earlier in the week I recorded Masque of the Red Death (a short story by Edgar Allan Poe) starring the late, great Vincent Price. A true classic in my opinion, another fave. Since my childhood, I’ve always loved the works of Poe and his creative ingenious as he brought out an eerie darkness that has resonated amongst his fans.

With so many different fun things going on this time of year, I decided to explore the stores to see what I could find to add to this season’s decorations. A couple of weeks ago I went shopping and found an adorable, yet simple, witch’s hat. (An image of this sweet addition is even included at the end of this post.)

When I got to the register, the cashier asked, “Are you gonna be a witch for Halloween?” I casually laughed and answered, “I already am one.”

She jokingly replied, “I thought you were kidding.” I grinned while shaking my head and told her, “Actually, I’m Wiccan.”

Then, we had a brief conversation about spirituality. The young lady was very cool and extremely open-minded.

The encounter made me giggle because of its innocence, which made me want to share it with you. As I always say, “Be Original. Be True. Be YOU!” 😉 )O(

 

Alright, everyone, I’ve shared with you a few of mine and my family’s Halloween traditions, would love to hear what are some of your favorite things that you like to do? Don’t be shy, this is an open-minded site where everyone is welcome to share!

 

Blessed Samhain! )O(

Love & Light,                                                                                                                         Sheila

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Pumpkins my son and I carved yesterday. 🙂

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Interview with film director, Michael G. Kehoe

Today I’m welcoming back director, Michael G. Kehoe to discuss his new horror film, AliceThank you, Michael for stopping by!

 

 

Tell everyone a little about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up going to a Catholic school. My mother was a theater director in the local parish. One of the first films that caught my attention when I was very young was a film by an Australian director Nicolas Roeg titled “Walkabout”. Roeg was a Cinematographer on such films like “Fahrehheit 451”, Second Unit on “Lawrence of Arabia” just to name a few. So his attention to detail as far as composition and light was something that caught my attention for some reason.
My family moved to Ithaca and while I attended high school I became interested in drama and started acting. I wanted to direct so I approached the school and a sports booster club to produce the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I produced it, directed it and played the leading role of R. P. McMurphy. The play was a success for the sports booster club and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was then approached by my high school English teacher to apply to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. I then waited for word, and was finally accepted.
After completing my studies there I left for California and took a job as a bartender. There is a longer story, but it would end up being a book!

 

 

Your latest horror film is titled, Alice. Prior to it becoming a feature film, it was the short film called Hush which received more than 30 phenomenal awards. Share with us Hush’s success and how it became Alice.

I had been developing an idea that would take place in one location with female leads. I happen to have 4 sisters, they’re independent and their personalities are very strong. I have a great relationship with all of them. My mother, was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and she was a very positive inspiration for me to pursue a career as a filmmaker. All of this is what lit the fuse of inspiration. I began writing a screenplay and did not have a title. The screenplay was written quickly and I knew that every screenplay I write will have a follow up journey of a rewrite and another rewrite and another and a polish and a touch up, this is the life of a writer! Within the untitled screenplay I pulled a scene that although was less than 5 minutes long, it had somewhat of a three act structure. I then decided to take that scene and shoot it as a short film. The scene itself is the catalyst of the third act in the feature script.

I had several ideas on how I wanted to shoot the film and then contacted cinematographer and long time friend John Connor. We met and discussed the approach to the film for several months. We created story boards, developed movement of the shots and composition. John suggested we shoot the film with anamorphic lenses and that was the scope I wanted for the film giving it a grand look. We then discussed lighting. Lighting for this genre is extremely important and the right lighting can give the film a style that remains in peoples minds after they’ve left the theater. I must give credit to John Connor for the style and the lighting. At first he was reluctant when I said I did not want to use any lights at all. We looked at dozens of films that inspired us over the years and John came up with an idea that created the style of the film. It has his mark on it. I then brought on a talented editor Michael Trent. Michael and I had a friendship already through our sons, he loves filmmaking as much as I do and I felt as if we were old friends when we began discussing the short film HUSH. Michael talked about the science of the horror genre. I loved those discussions we had over coffee. Each and every moment was touched upon and I knew Michael Trent was the right choice. I not only consider him a friend, but he is my editor!

We shot the short film in one day, less than 11 hours. We came prepared and the cast and crew were spot on! At the time, I fooled around with different titles such as “Dark Rain”, “The Night It Came” and several others. Then, a friend of mine read the short script and in the script there was dialogue that the baby sitter had: “Hush, I’m coming”. So, we decided to use “HUSH”. The short film went on to win 34 awards, including a Wes Craven award. The buzz for the short was extremely rewarding and it gave us faith to continue with the feature.

I then received a call from producer Malek Akkad (producer of the HALLOWEEN franchise), he had screened the short film and read the script. We met, solidified a deal and went over the ideas for the story. Malek is a passionate producer with attention to story. He and I worked diligently on the script and spent hours going over the approach of the cast. We both agreed to avoid the cliche’ of nudity and blood and worked the relationships out that would be relatable to the female audience. We moved on and scheduled the film to shoot with an 18 day schedule that ended out being shorter than that. Believe me, if I had more time we would have used it! But we accomplished what we set out to do and I am very proud of this film.

 

 

What makes Alice the “must see” film for all horror fans?

I think the element of “what’s behind the door?” is always something that horror fans love. I learned quickly that horror fans are loyal and sharp. You can’t cheat a horror fan, if you do, you’ll never hear the end of it. The genre itself has many flavors, there’s ghosts, vampires, monsters, killers, demons and the list goes on. Each of these flavors has a following that is dedicated to the history, the tone and the style. I hope we can give the fans a ride that will open the doors to a sequel! I think they’ll enjoy this as the fans enjoyed the short film. We want to scare the crap out of the audience!

 

 

What are some things people are saying about this exciting film so far?

During post, the technicians have stated that “ALICE” is creepy with great jump scares. They’ve said “you took us on one path and then jolted us to another”. No one on the outside has even seen the film, not the crew, not the cast. Only the small circle that pulled this all together. The word has been very positive.

 

 

Is there a teaser trailer available?

We’re working on a trailer right now. In fact, we will be announcing a contest on social network very soon!

 

 

When will Alice be released for all to see?

At the present time “ALICE” is due to be released in February.

 

 

Where can horror fans find updates about Alice?

Right now people should log on to Facebook and “Like” the “ALICE The Movie” page: https://www.facebook.com/alicemovie2017/?fref=ts
There will be updates and information being released. Be sure to keep an eye out for the big event we will be announcing.
People can follow me on social network: Instagram; @mikehoe11 Twitter: @MikeyKehoe https://twitter.com/MikeyKehoe

 

 

I want to thank you Sheila Renee Parker for your support and your dedication to the paranormal. Your voice should be heard all across the country. I hope you will continue to support the films I make in the future! I would also like to thank the people you inspired to follow me. I hope I can bring the film to a theater near you!

Thank you,
Michael G. Kehoe

 

 

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Interview with Marty Schiff

Today I’m welcoming actor and producer, Marty Schiff. Thank you, Marty for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well… I don’t really know where to start. I’ve had a pretty interesting life… much of it is public knowledge. I have been focused on a career in entertainment since I was 10 years old. I started doing regional theater when I was 14. Sometimes working on three shows at a time, acting, building sets and rehearsing was common for me. By the time I was 20 I had already done two dozen shows in some capacity. Some things that are not as public are: I was a volunteer fireman for many years. I learned to drive a stick on a 1956 American La France fire truck. I have two wonderful children, both who have interests in production. My daughter works as a Production Manager for PBS and my son is finishing up college. I’ve survived some pretty serious health issues…. and you’d never know it. As the song says…”ain’t found a way to kill me yet”.

 

 

What was the initial spark that inspired you to go into the film industry?

I think, and believe, it was in my DNA. I was a TV junkie at a very early age. I can still tell you what was on the air on Saturday mornings in Pittsburgh during the early 60s. It started with a test pattern. My family was also very into going to movies. I was never a noisy child in a dark theater. My grandmother would take me to the Warner Theater on Fifth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh nearly every Saturday. Drive-ins were big for my parents and siblings.

When I was 12 my father gave me a Kodak Brownie 8 mm movie camera. I shot hundreds of hours of film… most lost in the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. But it was my joy at a very early age. Again, without any formal training I knew how to set up shots, light, direct and edit short films. I was always daydreaming about shooting something and never paid attention much in school. My imagination was… and still is… off the hook. My goal was always to get to Hollywood… and did just that after getting my theater degree at the age of 23.

There is a very real possibility that a past life connected me to Hollywood. When I moved there in 1979 it felt extremely comfortable… not many people say that about Los Angeles… and I knew my way around without maps. I have a particular fondness for The Hollywood Cemetery and used to take my daughter there for “Picnics with the Demilles”… next to Cecil and Agnes DeMille’s burial plot.

 

 

Some of your earlier work include great titles such as Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow. What are some of the other films that you’ve worked on?

I think the one film I’m remembered most for is CREEPSHOW but my favorite film to work on, also a Romero work, was KNIGHTRIDER. It’s a non horror film but still great. Some lesser known are CHILDERN OF THE LIVIND DEAD and PARTY ANIMAL. I also worked on BLANKMAN, CAN YOU FEEL ME DANCING, THE ASSASINATION FILE and others.

As an actor my career was very heavy in television. Most people don’t realize how many times they’ve seen me in commercials and shows from the 80s and 90s. I’m very proud of OUT OF CONTROL which was Nickelodeon’s very first show they produced for themselves. Until then they had been buying shows produced for other networks. We started it all. OUT OF CONTROL starred Dave Coulier who would go on to do FULL HOUSE. OUT OF CONTROL had an ensemble cast that I loved. It was still the most fun I ever had going to work. A close second was the two seasons I spent on DALLAS. I did many shows and still get residual checks for 12 cents when one of those shows runs somewhere in the world.

 

 

What’s your favorite role you’ve ever played and why?

In film it was probably Trashman 1 in CREEPSHOW. It was so much fun making most of that performance up. Of course working with George Romero is always a treat and acting alongside my on screen partner Tom Savini is always a blast. We’ve been partners on screen 5 times. (DAWN OF THE DEAD, KNIGHTRIDERS, CREEPSHOW, EFFECTS, CHILDREN OF THE LIVING DEAD)

On TV it was HERN from OUT OF CONTROL. We had a lot of creative freedom with that show and my fellow cast members, directors and producers were just awesome to work with. An actor’s dream come true. If you search the show on Youtube there are many episodes there.

 

 

You have your very own production company called, SCHIFF MEDIA. Tell us about that.

Schiff Media was one of the first all digital production companies in the Pittsburgh region. It was started by my brother Bill and I with four XL1s and Final Cut Pro 2… we were early adapters. We did lots of commercials, a documentary or two and some special projects. We had a studio set up in the back of Schiff Printing Company and it was a lot of fun. I would move on to other projects and a new company called Jeffrey Martin Global Media. JMGM is more of a distribution company but we still do production from time to time. Recently, we produced a pilot for TV called THE ODDS… focusing on gambling.

 

 

What’s next for Marty Schiff?

I have some shows I’d like to get off the ground. A few game shows, some magazine shows and a film or two. I’m teaching directing for the Cinema Department at Point Park University, where I graduated from way back in the 20th century. I have some interests in non production businesses and I might even slow down a bit… no… that’s a lie… I’m happy working… I will sleep when I’m dead.

 

 

How can fans follow you and your updates about current and upcoming projects?

Fans can find me on Facebook and if they are professionals on LinkedIn. If they are interested in the film program at Point Park I’m always available to discuss that.

 

 

Words of advice for those who’d like to follow in your footsteps?

It’s not easy… but so worth it… and obviously not impossible. The key to success isn’t so much talent as perseverance, practice, commitment and believing in you. And … most importantly… be passionate about it.. live it… breathe it… love it. Never give up, make interesting and smart choices and be brilliant.

 

 

 

Marty Schiff

A Ghostly Perspective

This next post was inspired by a film that I’ve recently watched titled, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. The film is based on a true story and here is its description: “A historic Southern home’s new residents come face to face with a malevolent force.”

While watching, that was when it dawned on me that I was already familiar with the people portrayed in the film. I had seen them on other paranormal shows talking about their story and discussing the daughter’s ability of clairvoyance and communicating with the dead.

After I finished watching the film, it got me to thinking about ghosts and why some of them seem to be so malevolent. Perhaps their spirit isn’t actually malevolent at all. Maybe they just seem that way because they are trying to convey a message to the living. And after countless failed attempts of communication with the living, the ghosts become enraged because they have something to say but have no way of reaching the other side.

I know it may sound crazy, even far-fetched, but it made me think. So, by the time these ghosts finally find someone with whom they are able to communicate, they’re ready to unleash all their built-up emotions. And with the rush of feeling (and the fact that they’re dead) it’s easy to understand why the living can get so terrified by a paranormal encounter.

It makes total sense to me. Put yourself in their position. One day you’re walking down the street and all is well, then unfortunately something tragically out of the blue happens and you’re no longer part of the living. You’re now on the other side. You’re terrified, freaking out and you have no one to turn to. You try so hard to communicate with the living, but nothing – nadda. You try and try until one day your persistence finally becomes successful when you’re able to communicate with someone. But by this time, when you’re able to speak to a clairvoyant or whomever, you’ve got all this rush of excitement and that’s what scares the living because it becomes too overwhelming for them to handle.

Now this isn’t me in any way, shape or form, discarding all malevolent entities as non-malevolent. Extreme caution should always be utilized when investigating the paranormal because there are evil creatures/beings on the other side. So, be careful!

But the film did make me think and I wanted to share……

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

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Suicide Forest

Sounds like such a frightening place doesn’t it? Suicide Forest, full of despair and darkness. It’s located at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan and is also known as Aokigahara. This fourteen square mile forest is so thick with trees and other natural formations that it makes it difficult to hear anything that doesn’t belong there.

If anyone wants to visit the Sea of Trees, be forewarned for it harbors an egregious reputation. It’s reported to have an association with demons and more than fifty suicides took place among the woods in 2010. Sadly, this forest is one of the top three most popular locations worldwide for suicide. Up until around 1988, nearly thirty reported suicides occurred yearly. These lost lives have not gone unnoticed. Because of their tragedies, a warning sign has been erected at the beginning of the trail pleading that anyone contemplating suicide to please consider their loved ones and to contact a suicide prevention hotline.

Why the dark history? It’s believed that an old Japanese custom referred to as ubasute was practiced there until the 1800s and that the victims of this tragic era are to blame for the hauntings. Ubasute refers to an act where an elderly relative would be taken to an isolated location and left there to perish, be it by starvation, exposure to the elements, dehydration, etc….. all for the sake of euthanasia.

This weekend a feature film has been released titled, The Forest starring Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney. Here’s the cinematic trailer…

 

 

 

Suicide is nothing to take lightly and should be treated as an extremely serious matter. The following is contact information for suicide prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (website)          1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 

 

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Below is a photo of the warning sign pleading that anyone contemplating suicide to please consider their loved ones and to contact a suicide prevention hotline.

suicide forest sign