Amazon Studios:
The Way Of Television

By Erica Lopez

Adding to last year’s online original series Alpha House and Betas, Amazon has released ten new pilots to their Instant Video section to be voted on by the consumer, who will determine if it will be made into a series.


Of the ten pilots for your consideration, five are children’s programs and the other five are adult dramas.The After comes from Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, and tells an end-of-the-world story in a thrilling, action series. The pilot follows eight characters who are strangers thrown together to survive in a post-apocalyptic world of violence and terror. 

Based on Michael Connelly’s best selling novels, Bosch tells the story of a homicide detective who is standing trial for the murder of a serial killer while trying to figure out the mystery behind a young boy’s death.

Mozart in the Jungle allures viewers with the drama of what goes on behind the curtain of the symphony.

In The Rebels, a woman becomes the owner of a professional football team when her husband suddenly dies. And finally, Transparent is a drama about a family that unravels when a secret comes to light.

In a sort of worldwide market survey, Amazon will discern which of their pilots are “worthy” as decided upon by the response of the viewers. With every positive review, the viewer is casting their vote for the pilot that they would most like to see become a series and conversely, those with the fewest positive reviews will be let go.

Historically, television is left to the mercy of the viewing audience as to whether a series will get picked up season to season based on the loyalty of the viewership. The less popular shows are weeded out, leaving the stronger television series to carry on, feature higher profile actors and earn more valuable air-times.

And though the structure of the Amazon pilots is very similar to television in the way that the shows are ultimately decided upon by the action, or lack thereof, of the consumer, Amazon is making it harder for outcome of a show’s popularity to be left to the viewer’s apathy. By hosting them online free of charge, viewers can watch each pilot at their leisure, removing any argument for an inconvenient air-time as can be the case for cable television (despite the genius of DVR). After watching, the audience gives their opinion in their review- a palpable and calculated piece of information that gives the viewer a sense that he or she has made a contribution which is also incentive to watch the shows in the first place. Amazon pilots are actively changing television as we know it by engaging the audience, encouraging them to participate instead of allowing television to happen to them.

Watching television online seems the natural and inevitable direction to be headed. Netflix and Hulu have also produced their own original series; some of which have become great successes. HBOGo makes is easier for patrons to watch their favorite HBO programs online and many networks offer online viewing on their respective websites the day after the original series air-date. Mobile devices are even being made with television in mind and have bigger screens. Most of all, the instant gratification that comes from having television readily available without waiting week-to-week is very enticing and “binge-watching” is a an all too familiar extracurricular.

Amazon pilots represents the way of the television world and the retailer has simply made a very predictable step forward in allowing the viewing audience to be the judge. They understand that television has always been centered around consumer interests. Now this audience-driven medium will also be made by the audience.


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Victoria Platt and Terrell Tilford
Husband & Wife Acting Team

By Shirley Wright

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to the husband and wife acting team of Victoria Platt and Terrell Tilford, both hard working actors starring in different TV series. Clearly they are a united, strong couple with definite views about the world of acting and art. It was a pleasure to meet them both.   
It’s not often that I get to talk to an acting husband and wife team.
Victoria: [Laugh] We don’t talk to each other that often either. [Laugh]
Which I guess could bring me to my first question, how do you balance your life and work?  Because both of you are on series shooting in different cities. Do you ever see each other?
Victoria: Well, yeah.  Certainly, Terrell works in Atlanta a lot.  I work in New Orleans a lot.  So we’ve made it work.  He flies to me sometimes.  I fly to him sometimes.  It’s difficult but we make it work.
Terrell: It’s a little dipping here and there, but we make it happen.
Absence can make the heart grow fonder, right?
Terrell: That’s right.  We’ve been together 12 ½ years now, so there have been spurts of time where we’ve had to do this before when I was in New York and she was in Chicago and L.A. and San Diego and other places.  So we’re kind of a little bit used to it, but it’s always nice to be home here in L.A., back in our home.
I want to talk about your current TV series. Let’s start with you Victoria. Star-Crossed, it premiered last month on the CW to great reviews. Tell me about your character, Gloria.
Victoria: Sure. It’s been really great. I’m a sci-fi fan, so this is right up my alley. The show is essentially about an alien ship that crash lands on earth and all of the aliens are rounded up and put in what would be considered modern day internment camps. Ten years after that, the government creates this integration program and I play Gloria Garcia, the government agent, that is in charge of the integration of the program. I work closely with the aliens.
Are you considered a good guy or a bad guy on the show?
Victoria: I can’t say yet and actually I've gotten a lot of people wondering. They’re saying, “Are you bad? Are you the villain?” I love my character.  I think she has a good heart and she has an honorable reason for why she’s doing what she’s doing. Other people may see it as something else though. [Laugh]
Terrell: Her character is described a bit as a space-age Olivia Pope, so she’s wielding a big sword there.
That is a big sword.  So you’re a fixer?
Victoria: I’m a little bit of a fixer, yeah.  I would say that.  Certainly a mediator.  I mediate.
Well, that does sound like a fun character. Is the show set far into the future?
Victoria: No, only about ten years.
Was it hard getting the role?  Tell me about the audition process?
Victoria: It was kind of interesting. This is one of the roles that I had to put myself on tape for. So, Terrell filmed me on tape.  He read the other lines with me and we sent it in and I booked it off the tape, which is rare and very desirable. [Laugh] I prefer it that way.
Wow. That is unusual. You’re shooting in New Orleans, correct?
Victoria: Yeah, we shoot right in New Orleans. I mean, the actual sound stage is in Harahan, which is like ten minutes outside New Orleans, but we do a lot of location stuff and that’s all shot in New Orleans.
The costumes must be fun.  Are you being dressed in pseudo-regular clothes or do you have some weird uniforms?
Victoria: Not really. Certainly they make the SEU guards, who are the guards that guard the aliens - they make them look a lot more futuristic. I think Caroline (Caroline Marx – Costume Designer) did a really great job of marrying fashion now, to what fashion could be ten years from now. So it’s not too crazy. I love the way my character’s dressed. It is very Olivia Pope. I’m in a lot of light colors and very tailored clothing.
Very stylized then?
Victoria: Yeah, very elegant, not very revealing; not sexy at all. [Laugh] But very elegant and tailored.
So tell me more about the premise of the show?
Victoria: Essentially what happens is an alien student and a human student have a romance. So it’s very relevant in terms of the times because a lot of it is about tolerance and discrimination and difference and so the social commentary on it, I think, is very relevant and current. It doesn’t jam it down your throat or anything but it’s a very obvious point of the story, which I think speaks a lot to what we’re experiencing now in the country.
Do the aliens look like humans or do they have different characteristics?  
Victoria: It’s the CW, so you know they’re definitely humanoid and they’re all gorgeous. [Laugh] So there is something that differentiates them from us and it’s that they have these markings that we would look at and think they’re tattoos.  They have these individual markings.  They’re almost like birthmarks in a way.  That’s the only thing that really separates them from us in terms of look.  We find out some other things about them later on, differences in terms of anatomy.  We found out in the pilot episode that they have two hearts and there are other things that’ll come out in the future that I won’t reveal now.  I’ll say that you have to watch to see, but it’s kind of interesting.
 TerrellTilford-ChanAndrePhotography-ttil2 28
Ok, Terrell, your turn. You’re on Single Ladies.  Tell me about your character, Sean. It's certainly a lot different from Victoria’s.
Terrell: Compared to what they’re doing on Star-Crossed, you just made me feel completely inadequate, Shirley. I don’t do shit.  No, I’m just joking with you. [Laugh]. I play Sean, a very high-powered lawyer on the show who wears his emotions sort of in his heart and on his sleeve at the same time.  He’s lost a woman that he was very much in love with.  He lost her to another guy because of his own previous mistakes and he’s come back to Atlanta in the past couple years to try and win her back.  Since that time, we’ve moved forward a couple of years and Sean, I wouldn’t say, he certainly hasn’t gotten over his love of Keisha, however, his main goal, if you will, at this point is to expose the wickedness of my nemesis, Malcom, played by DB Woodside, who is now with Keisha.  So I’m back to wreak a little havoc on the show.
That sounds like a killer role. 
Terrell: Yeah, it’s fun.  A lot of people sort of describe it as the urban Sex & the City, if you will. The people who watch the show, the women are definitely in many respects tuning in for the fashion and hairstyles and things like that for the women.
Victoria: And the cute guys.
Terrell: They’ve put on a couple of nice suits here and there for the guys, especially this year in particular. They’ve managed to give us a lot more to do and have a little bit more say-so and a nice interaction between the fellas as well.  So it’s a show that’s centered around the women, as you know, however, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in there.  So that’s the fun of actually doing the show.
I think that’s a very good description, an urban Sex & the City.  So, tell me how you both met. It was on the Guiding Light, right?
Terrell: We did, yeah.  I had been there for maybe about six weeks, two months, right out of grad school, playing this detective on the show and Vic came in to replace a character that was on there and I essentially immediately fell in love with her right then but, unbeknownst to me until about an hour later and then for a year after that, she had absolutely no interest in me.
So it was not love at first sight, Victoria?
Victoria: No, I was in a relationship at the time and I had a strict rule about dating people I worked with and here’s this really good looking soap actor and I’m thinking, “Of course he thinks that I want to have a relationship with him.  It’s not going to happen.” [Laugh] So I wouldn’t say I played hard to get.  I wanted to keep work separate from my personal life.
Terrell: She absolutely did not play hard to get.  It was just basically, “No.” [Laughter]
So how long did it take for you to wear her down?
Terrell: Probably about a year and a half or so, but the great thing during that time, in all honesty, the wonderful thing about it, one, is we were playing lovers on the show, which was stressful for me and probably just fine for her.  However, in between shooting and in between rehearsals, we’d get off early or something like that, we’d go grab lunch or something like that and because of where our proximity was, we both lived pretty far outside of Manhattan at the time, I think we caught a movie once or twice or something like that.  It was very much on the up and up.  I was very enamored with her, but at some point I had to relax and chill and try to play it cool as we went out to lunch and hung out a bit.
Victoria: We became friends.  Once I told him it wasn’t going to happen, he was very respectful.  He really was.  He was very respectful.
Terrell: Then finally I think at just one point, she was like, “Okay, let me go ahead and give this guy a break.  I’m starting to feel sorry for him.”  Her mom actually likes me.  So I was working the family angle a bit and I think her mother was in on it as well.  So we sort of tricked her into it all.
Victoria: My mother and one of my best friends were totally in cahoots with him and they wore me down.  It was a lot of pressure.  Nobody could stand that kind of pressure.
Did you break your rule and did you start dating when you were working together?
Victoria: Yeah, I broke my rule, I did.
And he was worth it.
Victoria: Totally, are you kidding?  We’re 12 ½ years in, but we kept it a secret for a really long time.
Did you?
Terrell: Yeah and, in a sense, at the time when we first started dating, we weren’t actually working together.  We were on hiatus for about six weeks.  So she had been living in L.A. when she booked the job, so she came back out to L.A. and I came out here to visit my family because this is where I’m originally from.  So we had a chance to like…we started hiking and I was taking her on hikes with some of my friends and we were all just hanging out a bit.  I think things opened up that, look, I think this could be a very good and cool thing.  I think the first thing she did with my family is we all went to Cirque de Soleil together.
Victoria: Yeah, we did.
When you finally confessed at work, was everybody okay?  Was it cool then actually working together and being together?
Victoria: Yeah, it was totally fine.  I actually remember the event.  There was some event, was it a Christmas party?
Terrell: A birthday party for one of the producers.
Victoria: Okay, it was something that we showed up at together and we had never done that before.  We showed up and, of course, all the photographers were like, “Wait a minute, did you guys show up together?”  Everyone always wants people who work together to be in a relationship and they would constantly ask us before that and we were always like, “No, no, no.”  That night we showed up together, we did the red carpet together, and everybody was like, “Are you guys together?” and we were like, “Yes, we’re together” and then it was like in all the magazines and it was our coming out party. [Laugh]
That’s really cool.
Victoria: Yeah, and it was easy to work together after that.  Nothing really changed very much.  Terrell is easy to work with.  His work ethic is something I've always admired and hopefully he feels the same way about me.  We had a really good time working together, so that didn’t change anything.
So when did you both get the acting bug? Was it right out of school?
Victoria: My mom was a singer when she was young and when I was born, she had stopped singing, but she would coach kids in the neighborhood and one of them was a friend of mine and she had an audition for Annie, the two year national tour, and I went with her for moral support and we were all sitting up in the front and it was this huge theater.  I don’t know if they even have these any more, but they used to be called cattle calls, where they would put an ad out in like the newspaper and at the time it was The Daily News.  They put an ad in The Daily News that said, “Any girl who can sing between the ages of 2 and 12, come down” and you get a number and then they put you all in this huge Broadway theater and then they call you up in rows of like 100 and they point to you and you sing.  
I really didn’t want to be an actor.  I hadn’t even thought about it really.  I really wanted to be, at the time, it was called a cardiovascular surgeon.  Now it’s thoracic, but I really wanted to be a surgeon, but I was sitting up there with my friend and they herd all of us onto the stage.  I was like, “I’m not here to audition.”  He was like “Sing” and I sang and my voice filled up the theater and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is the most amazing experience I've ever had in life.” [Laugh] It was scary but exhilarating at the same time and that was it for me. That was when I was about six or seven.
Wow!  At age 6 you knew you wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon?
Victoria: I did and you know what was really strange about that?
Terrell: She still wants to be a surgeon.  She still tries to operate on me any chance she can get.  Be careful.
Victoria: Anytime he has a splinter or something, I’m like, “Sit right there.  I’m going to get the scissors, a scalpel, and some alcohol.” [Laugh] Occasionally he actually lets me do it.  Yeah, my parents actually said it was kind of fascinating that I wanted to do that, but I’m sure my father put it in my head.  My father really wanted me to be a doctor.
Was he a doctor?
Victoria: He wasn’t.  He was a professor.  He was the principal of a school but I think he really wanted to be a doctor but he came from meager means and didn’t have the money to go to med school and so he figured I would go ahead and handle that part of his dream.  I sort of did.  I played Dr. Peg on The Gates. [Laugh]
That’s true.  Terrell, when did you get the acting bug?
Terrell: I still haven’t gotten it.  I’m still trying to get bit.  No, I’m teasing. [Laugh] Growing up, I was sort of involved in community theater, doing church productions, things like that at the time, but I was really into sports.  I played baseball for a number of years and I guess it was sort of through the exposure, my mother worked in a medical facility in Hollywood right on Hollywood Boulevard, so I’d go up and hang out with her after I got out of school and a lot of producers and people in the entertainment business used to come in all the time and they’d make little comments here or there and say, “Oh, your son should do this, your son should do that”, but my mother didn’t really have time to take me to those sort of things.  So it was just a fleeting idea and I think also just having grown up in L.A., it wasn’t something surprisingly that was really on my mind.  
So it wasn’t until, I mean, I tell people, I say one of my earliest remembrances is seeing a production of Romeo & Juliet at L.A. City College when I was a kid and I remember being quite taken aback with this production and the spectacle and the magic of it all, if you will.  Of course, it’s not one of my favorite plays.  However, it did leave an indelible impression as I went further in life. Even though in high school and all that I was still involved in theater, it wasn’t until I got to college at UC Berkeley that it was something that I knew I wanted to do.  I went into Berkeley saying, “Oh, I want to be a computer engineer” and nobody told me that actually included being intelligent and math and science and things like that.  So I was like, “Nah, I’m not going to do that anymore.” [Laugh] So after I took my first acting class at Berkeley, from that point on, I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do, yeah.
That’s great.  So outside of acting, what are your passions?  You have a passion for art, don’t you?
Terrell: I do.  I've been collecting art since I was 16 years old and working with artists as a curator and as a gallerist since, officially, probably 2002.  So that’s something that I've been doing for a number of years.  I don’t like to call it on the side and it’s not really a hobby. I've curated here and in New York and had threatened to curate in Atlanta last year but just got a little bit too busy with our schedule there, but I have a very deep passion for that and it’s certainly something I plan to continue with as well.
Any particular kind of art?  I mean, contemporary art…?
Terrell: New young emerging artists that have something provocative to say.  The original title of our company was Tilford Art Group and, at that time, it really stood for a certain cache of artists and a certain thematic work that many of the artists were doing at the time and then, just a few years ago, I decided that after our ten year anniversary of having done this, I said, you know what, it’s time to move in a different direction, to go out on a limb and find something that was more challenging not only for myself but for the artists as well and I wanted to do it in a very different way than we’d done it before in terms of having a gallery space, that sort of commitment.  I’m really looking more for pop-ups now, which seem a lot more interesting to me at this time.  So that’s really like the new quest with the new company, which is Tilford Redux.
My whole thought has always been, even when we launched the first company, was really to make art accessible to people who may feel threatened by it.  I wanted to remove the white gloves thought behind it all, including the white walls.  We never had white walls in the gallery.  They were always colored.  I always wanted to sort of break the barrier between what people sort of see as like, “I need to have money.  I need to be wealthy” or something like that and it’s like, “No, you don’t.  You just have to start with what you love, what you like.”  I tell people, “Don’t buy a piece of art that’s going to match your couch because you’re going to have the piece of art probably for the rest of your life.  You’re going to have that couch for maybe five to ten years and that’s it.”  
So it’s all about engaging in a conversation within the community, saying “Let’s look at this.  Let’s talk about this” and if you’re interested in buying something, my goal was to try and help them procure a piece of art because I didn’t get into the art world to make money.  I got into it to help support people make a living in the same way that people have helped support me.  I've had people come see our plays and productions and write letters into the networks when we’ve been on TV shows and things.  So I was making a living as an actor and I believe visual artists should make a living at what they do as well.  It’s a significant part of our cultural history, American and worldwide history as well.  When we look back centuries before us, what has withstood the test of time?  
The art, and books, things like that.  Those are the things that have informed us of what happened before and it’s something that is a bit intimidating for me as we are into this digital age now, that we’re diving so far into that, we’ve become so entrenched in that, that we need to retain some of this material physical aspect of something because the huge difference between the past and moving towards the future is we do still have the books and the art and things like that.  With this digital age, when somebody looks back, moving forward, when somebody looks back 100 years from now, those batteries are going to be worn down on those iPads, those iPhones aren’t going to power up, those computers may not have the same source to reboot.  So how are we going to be able to retain this sort of cultural edification?
That’s very true. Hard to keep up with technology.
Terrell: Right. How many people now actually print out their photos?  They live in a digital world.  They live on their phones and computers and other devices.  So we’ve got to print these things.  We’ve got to make them accessible and that’s the same way I feel about the art.  We need to have it out there.  We need to make it accessible to everyone.
Have you ever wanted to paint yourself or do art in some form?
Terrell: I have painted over the years and, much to my wife’s chagrin, I have not painted more.  Actually when we first met, I think that was one of the things that sort of ended up attracting her to me, is that I was painting.  So when she finally came to my apartment and saw what I was spending some of my loose time doing, it was actually painting.
Victoria: I was like, he’s not just a pretty face. [Laugh]
Terrell: Right, but when I started the fine art company, I never wanted people to get the impression that I was doing it to sell my own art.  So ever since our very first show that we did out of our home where I did sell and exhibit a few of my own pieces, I've made it a very clear distinction not to do so with our company because, again, that focus was on the visual artists who actually do it for their livelihood.
Right.  It’s very hard to make a living at anything in the arts.
Terrell: Exactly and that was one of the things I tried to impress upon people that would come into our gallery.  We even had a number of celebrities who became, what I call, repeat offenders, people who came back to the gallery several times to buy many pieces of art and the first thing they would always ask me was, “What should I buy?  What should I buy?”  I appreciated the enthusiasm, but again, as much as I wanted to make the sale, I wanted them to feel stronger and more impassioned about the piece, which was more important to me than trying to sell them something that, at the end of the day, they might have any regrets about because, what I used to tell people all the time, “Listen, I’m not a car salesman.  I don’t sell the art.  The art sells itself.  We can have a discussion about it.  We can talk about various aspects of it, but at the end of the day, I want you to say, ‘You know what, I've looked at this piece long enough.  This is the piece I've got to have in my home’” and that meant more to me thn me just trying to sell what was the most expensive piece housed at the time.
That’s terrific and very admirable.  Victoria, do you have a passion outside of the acting that you like to spend time on?
Victoria: Yeah, I do.  There are a couple things.  I started taking archery about a year and a half ago.  It was kind of funny.  Again, Terrell, he exposes me to so many things.  I started teaching acting at a college and he said, “You know one of the books that you should assign for reading is Zen in the Art of Archery” and I was like, “Okay…” “Why in the world would I be reading Zen in the Art of Archery for an acting class?” but then I read it and I was like, “Oh, I see how this relates to acting” and I would have my students do a paper on how it relates to acting. 
It’s a slow read, but it’s a fascinating notion of being the arrow, being the target, that whole thing.  Then I reread it again because I was teaching again and I said, “Eh, I haven’t read it in a couple of years.  Let me reread it, just to have a fresh point of view” and I was like, archery sounds really interesting.  Why don’t I just try archery?  So I went and had a lesson and I absolutely loved it.  I went and got equipment and my husband was going, “Oh gosh, this is one of her flash in the pan hobbies that she’s going to do” but it hasn’t been.  Whenever I can, even when I go away, when I went to New York to do Venice at the public theater, I took my equipment and I would trek out to Queens every once in a while and go shoot on the range.
Good for you.
Victoria: I’m really passionate about that.
You and Geena Davis.
Victoria: Geena Davis, one of my personal idols for many, many reasons, archery being one of them and also because she’s a member of Mensa, which is pretty insane as well. [Laugh] Yeah and actually I think Darryl Hannah as well.  I like sports like that.  I’m not athletic, per se.  I used to dance.  I was a dancer and so I’m athletic in that way.  I got my yoga certification many, many years ago, so I do teach yoga but in terms of athletics, I didn’t play baseball or softball or anything like that.  So, I've always done things that have been a little bit more spiritually feeding for me and archery does that for me.  There is something about just being there by yourself on the range and it’s very quiet and there’s a lot of solitude and I like that.  It’s calming for me.
So what advice do you give to young actors who are just starting out?  
Terrell: I would tell them, this is something I take very serious and this is something I try to impress upon young people all the time. I tell them first, I said, it’s a privilege to be an artist and it’s an even greater privilege to be a working artist, but what I tell them, I say don’t do this for the money because there will be more times that you’ll be broke than you’ll have money and on those days when there’s nothing else going on and you feel like you have nothing in your life to validate you, you need to know that your personal talent within yourself, whether it’s you sitting at home reading Shakespeare, whether it’s you in an acting class, whether it’s you doing a play down in the village in New York which we’ve both done for absolutely no money whatsoever, you’re doing it because those things fulfill you in a very different way.  
So understand the basics and, like anything in life, doctors go to school.  Doctors get training.  Engineers, they study.  Study the craft.  One thing that was impressed upon me even in grad school was reading biographies.  Read about people not only in your field but in other fields as well because those are the things that are going to help just inform you about life and if you can’t identify in some sort of way human struggle, people overcoming things, understanding people’s journeys, then how are you going to be able to bring some level of your own humanity to the work?  
At the same time, there’s a lot of pressure within this business of people telling you what to do.  “Gain five pounds, lose five pounds, dye your hair, cut your hair, change your name, shorten your name”, so many different things and I tell people, I say, at the end of the day, you’ve got to maintain your own integrity and understand your own personal value within the system because it is a system.  It’s a machine and so many people that we know for so many reasons and even you look at older successful actors, we just lost Philip Seymour Hoffman, you’ve got to have a support team of people around you that are willing to have your back no matter what and that are willing to tell you no or that you’re wrong at the times when you think you might be feeling yourself a little bit too much.  So what I’m saying is there’s got be a sense of groundedness that you’ve got to have within this because there are just too many pitfalls that people have fallen toward.
Very good advice.  Victoria, do you have anything to add?
Victoria: I’m much more cynical than Terrell. [Laughter] I don’t think young people should be in this business.  I started out as a kid and though I think I've become a well-adjusted adult, it was really difficult in a business that is based on things that are transitory and temporary.  They’re based on things that I believe are shallow sometimes, many times, what you look like and many of those things, you don’t have control over.  This is not a career based on meritocracy.  It’s not like becoming a doctor.  You go to school to become a doctor and if you get good grades and pass all your exams, you can have a practice.  That is not the same thing in this business.  You can be the most amazing actor in the world and still be on the unemployment line.  
For every Will Smith and Angelina Jolie, there are literally tens of thousands of other people who are not working and I know every one of us, you have to go into this career thinking, “I will not be one of those people.  I will be one of the Will Smiths and Angelina Jolies,” but we all say that and not all of us are up there.  So somehow, we have to have some sort of, we’ve got to have a foot in the real world and say, in this way I do agree with Terrell, that you’ve got to have some sort of passion for it, but the other thing is, just be honest.  Have your dream, obviously, but also know it’s not based on meritocracy.  Just because you’re professional, just because you’re talented, just because you’re a wonderful actor does not mean that you’re going to be successful.  
It’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around and, as a child, it doesn’t make sense in terms of how you view the rest of the world.  It doesn’t set you up very well for the rest of the world.  So I would say for young people, if you have not gone through college yet, don’t get into this business yet.  Go through college, have a childhood, have a normal life, make some relationships, have some experiences, travel.  Then if you still think, “This is a thing I love to do and absolutely can’t live without it,” then do it, but then you’ve already had a good foundation.  You have a good sense of who you are and you’ve seen what real is as much as you possibly can before you get into the world of the unreal, because this business is often the world of the unreal.  I call it The Matrix not for nothing. [Laugh]
I think that’s really terrific advice and this has really been a fun interview.
To follow Victoria and Terrell on Twitter, here are their websites: @VictoriousPlatt and @TerrellTilford.
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Veronica Mars:
A Review

By Autumn Topping


Veronica Mars. Most everyone has probably heard the name somewhere before but what comes to mind? A canceled TV show brought back from the dead perhaps? But what do you think of the character Veronica herself? Some may consider her merely a fictional private eye, while others a disillusioned Nancy Drew, noir inspired vengeful sleuth with biting commentary about life in general. Jane Austen has got nothing on Veronica. Then of course there are the rest of us Mars fans who know the truth about Veronica: she’s a marshmallow, and we fellow marshmallows have been waiting a long time for the continuation of this too soon canceled cult classic about a teenage, cynical private investigator with a big heart.

When news broke a year ago about a Kickstarter campaign, the internet went wild! How on earth could fans fund a film for a show canceled six years earlier? Would there be enough backers to make this happen? Surely, the small but loyal fan base would have mostly dissipated over the years. Within a few hours, however, we (all of us backers) proved all the naysayers wrong, funding the film in the first day! Still, no one could have predicted the outpouring of support thrown in Veronica’s direction, with almost 6 million dollars raised by the end of Kickstarter (well over the goal of 2 million). Never underestimate a fan’s desire for an ending…
So, what about that ending? Would adult Veronica be just as engaging as teenage Veronica? Did the film live up to the hype for Mars fans? When Rob Thomas first created Veronica Mars, a cult show that ran from 2004-2006, he began the story about this teenage girl whose best friend had recently been murdered. When Veronica’s father, the Sheriff, got ousted after supposedly messing up the case and going after the murdered girl’s father (one of the richest men in town and founder of Kane software), Veronica herself became an exile in the grand town of Neptune where class divisions between rich and poor became even more apparent to the now hardened Veronica on the outskirts of popular society. Seeing the corruption, Veronica turned to detective work now that her father was a private investigator, driven to uncover the truth of Lily Kane’s murder in the process. The setup was clever, the dialogue cutting and sharp, and Kristen Bell’s delivery of the lines funny and engaging.
As the seasons continued, however, the show just wasn’t a big enough hit for the CW (well over 2 million viewers by the end and now above most shows on the network…) and so the show was canceled without an ending, something particularly devastating for fans of the “epic” romance between Logan and Veronica, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) once Neptune’s “obligatory psychotic jackass” according to Veronica. Dark and damaged, Logan became the ultimate bad boy in need of Veronica’s love. The two became drawn to one another like a bad, albeit entertaining addiction with snarky debates between the two along the way. Unfortunately, their journey was cut short…until now.
For Mars fans, the wait was well worth it! Nine years later (in the show’s years), and Veronica is six weeks away from taking the bar and becoming a full-fledged New York lawyer. She has a nice boyfriend (Piz) and life is seemingly going good, albeit a little on the boring side. She did escape the terrible clutches of Neptune after all.  Then, she catches the news: Carrie Bishop, a pop singer and someone she had gone to high school with was murdered and Logan, Carrie’s boyfriend, the prime suspect. With a call for help from Logan, who she hasn’t seen in 9 years, she gets sucked back into the world of Neptune and the exciting world of being a private eye, thus beginning our own nostalgia trip back to a fictional town. She opens her old box of tools and begins to investigate. Who really killed Carrie Bishop?
Aside from the surprisingly engaging noir mystery, is the other plot about the corruption of Neptune and the class war between the rich and the poor.  Cops are setting up innocents, the division even greater than when Veronica graced the classrooms of Neptune High. This divide, not being the main focus of the film, ends open ended with several questions left hanging in the balance. But don’t worry, this is purposeful. If all goes well, this background arc opens the door for future movies (that is if it makes enough money at the box office). 
More than just plot and intriguing story, the characters are back and just as lovable as ever. Truly a love letter to the fans that backed it, Rob Thomas rewards them with cameos from most of the old gang (even several of the guest stars) to even new cameos from James Franco (seriously hilarious) to Kristen Bell’s real life husband Dax Shepard. While all the nods to the TV show will go over the heads of new viewers, that’s okay because this fan backed film really is for the fans. With lots of Logan and Veronica love, a great mystery, engaging dialogue and noirish voice overs, there is never a dull moment. Best of all, aside from all the fabulous and romantically epic Logan/Veronica interaction, Veronica is back, fitting her adult role like a glove.  She could still snark with the best of them.
Seven years later and Rob Thomas and the cast haven’t lost their touch. Every character, while evolved (Logan the most changed thanks to his newfound maturity), still feels like who they were all those years back. Veronica Mars may have once been a long time ago but not anymore. Hopefully, the success of Veronica Mars will open the doors for several returns back to Neptune with new mysteries and even return visits for other fabulous shows canceled too soon. Until next time, fellow Marshmallows!
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Reap's Top Ten Pick of The Week That Was!
News and Stuff You May Have Missed

By Erica Lopez

Week of April 21, 2014

Miley Cyrus has been hospitalized following a severe allergic reaction to medication and has rescheduled the remainder of her U.S. Bangerz tour after canceling several shows due to her illness.

Lindsay Lohan reveals that she had a miscarriage during the finale of her OWN docu-series.

In more Lohan news, Lilo confirmed that the “rumored” sex list isn't actually a rumor at all.


A California teen found a new way to travel. He is lucky to be alive after surviving extreme temperatures and lack of oxygen after stowing away in the wheel well on a California- Hawaii flight.


Bill and Hilary Clinton are going to be grandparents! Chelsea is pregnant with her first baby.



Colorado celebrated their first legal 4/20. Muchies, ahoy!



In honor of Easter weekend, there are five unanswered questions about Jesus to take with you.


Avengers assemble! Captain America tops the box office for the third week in a row.


HBO's Game of Thrones might have taken it a little far this time. Eyebrows have been raised over the latest sex-scene between Cersei and Jamie Lannister in last night's episode. Beware, this article contains SPOILERS!


While Prince William and Duchess Kate explore Down Under, a new portrait of the queen has been revealed for her 88th birthday.



Week of March 31, 2014

Entertainment News:

Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay front man, Chris Martin, split after ten years of marriage. But what is more infamous than her high profile separation is the euphemism to which it defines.


Art gets technical with Brock Davis who uses different social media platforms, their limitations and regulations, to share and even create his artwork.


Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter tour ends with her humble tears in Lisbon.

And more music:

The internet is still rejoicing for Blair Waldorf’s Leighton Meester’s beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”


The Walking Dead season finale is predicted to break ratings records tonight as the most watched show on television.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released this Friday, April 4th to fans anxiously awaiting the first Avenger’s sequel.


American Apparel is not known for producing conservative advertisements, but this latest ad for their short skirts is getting everyones panties in a bundle.


See who got slimed and who won in this year’s Teen Choice Awards that took place this weekend.


Should we just make these “Frozen Facts?” Well, we reported last time that Frozen was the 2nd highest grossing animated film. As of this week it has earned first place

And for the prankers: Need some April Fools Day inspiration? We have you covered

Week of March 24, 2014



March Madness heads to the Sweet Sixteen this week. Best of luck to those whose brackets have managed to survive last week’s most unpredictable upsets. Anyone?


Newly engaged Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have announced that they are pregnant with their first child. Jackie and Kelso forever!


If you too spend grotesque amounts of time stuck in traffic, good news! Thanks to Open Culture’s free audiobook downloads you can make that daunting commute a little less painful.


Numbers don’t lie. Shakira is the most liked musician on Facebook with over 86.3 million likes. 


GIRLS season three wrapped over the weekend freeing some airspace for HBO patrons that are antsy for the Game of Thrones premiere on April 6th


Divergent , the first installment of the film franchise based on Veronica Roth’s widely popular book series, was released in theaters last week, garnering a rather underwhelming response. Russell Crowe stars in Noah opening in theatres this Friday.  


Kim Kardashian and Kanye West cover the April Issue of Vogue magazine and reactions are mixed. According to Editor, Anna Wintour, the objective is to “feature those who define the culture at any given moment.” You hear that? Kimye is the definition of our culture, people.  


Starbucks is testing and “Evenings Menu” in select major cities with hope of catering to the happy-hour clientel. It’s just too bad that beer and wine aren’t also part of their morning menu because that would make Monday’s a lot easier to get through, am I right?


If you're a fan of Billy Joel, you'll be excited he is launching The Billy Joel Channel featuring music and interviews from the singer's 50-year career. The channel goes live at 6 p.m. ET on March 26th and will run through June 25th via satellite on channel 4, online and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App. So now you can listen to whom Billy Joel is a fan of!

Fun Fact:

This past weekend was the first the first in which Disney’s Frozen was not one of the top ten grossing movies at the box office since it was released on November 27th. The film came in 13th place this weekend despite being released to DVD earlier last week. Frozen is the 13th highest grossing film of all time and 2nd highest grossing animated film, falling second to Disney’s Toy Story 3. Long story short, you are completely legitimized for still having “Let it Go” stuck in your head. 

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The Advent Of New Expression

By Alfredo Madrid

(Disclaimer—Full names and other revealing information of individuals mentioned in the words below have not been included  as the nature of the act described carries certain legal ramifications in some jurisdictions.)
The close to the 20th century saw the impressive near half-century marking of a relatively novel international art form: graffiti.  The contemporary urban landscape is immensely rich in that it abounds in providing ample ground for such grand display of artistry.  Although the practice dates back, in evolutionary terminology, rather distant into human history, the shape that this medium has currently transformed into is rather awe-inspiring.   
Seminally, modern graffiti as we currently understand it hails from North America, primarily New York and soon after heralded by San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively.  During the tempestuous 1950s-60s, the Latino “cholo” sub-culture of Southern California began to have a direct influence upon urban art.  Taken directly from “the cholo” genre, calligraphy was instituted into the display of words on any surface in relation to street art in Los Angeles.  
New York revolutionized the manner in which the attention of the targeted gawkers was directed during the 1970s-80s.  By exploiting the city’s notorious subway and transit system, and “tagging,” or writing their street monikers on the railroad cars, the artists’ audience members were thrown open to include residents from all points of The Big Apple.  As the new art form rapidly blossomed, it began attracting global attention, sprouting up on the five major continents seemingly simultaneously. 
Although the actual act of writing on a wall or bus bench with a spray can, marker or pen has been ostracized into the so-called criminal aspects of deviance in polite society, it still manages to have a persistent and strong underground following that has led many graffiti-artists to purposely remain anonymous. 
Intricately stemmed in street graffiti is the urban advent of Hip Hop music. Poetically molded with overt messages of poverty, racism, gang stricken locales, and a rebellious attitude that challenges authority almost as directly as the philosophy that supports the rock ‘n’ roll thought pattern, the genre of music seemingly goes hand in hand with street art.
As with the progression of any art form, street graffiti has undergone significant changes, most notably the fact that the craft is merging with the commercialism similar to that of other mainstream creative outlets.  This area has led to widespread consternation by those graffiti practitioners who feel that the art form should remain loyal to its roots within the rugged, raw, unforgiving street culture and there remain grounded in a dignified manner.
Street graffiti undeniably has a link to crime in general, and in its worst case scenario gang violence.  Although such a statement can be rebuked by several of those practicing the craft who feel that it is much more closely akin to art, the fact remains that several criminals, notably young and inexperienced ones, choose defacing public and private property as a stepping stone or gateway into the underbelly of street crime.
Until the law chooses to loosen its grip on its perception of street graffiti, in whatever form it takes, those adhering to the practice will have to endure the several, and often times severe reprimands for disobeying the standard rules.
As graffiti continues to grow and attract more and more devout followers worldwide, on a yearly basis, it can be hoped that at some point the law will be able to accurately discriminate between those “taggers” who are in fact true artists, and those ruffians, hooligans and rogues who are out not only to destroy private property, but who are in fact dangerous criminals that may need to be institutionalized. 
A zealous graffiti extraordinaire since extreme youth, “Brief,” has developed a rich and detailed understanding of contemporary graffiti:
“The history of modern graffiti can be traced to mid-1960’s and early 1970’s New York City,” said Brief.  “During that era, the Pop Art movement had captured the imaginations of many Americans through the use of vivid color and youthful subject matter.  Notable pop-artists included Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist, to name a few.  As with any popularized art movement, Pop Art attracted reputable art dealers with equally reputable art galleries, many of which were located in upscale neighborhoods:
“As such, disenfranchised youth throughout the city began to feel marginalized by the perceived elitism of Pop Art (many of the galleries were far away from the Bronx and Brooklyn, and many of the art patrons made inner-city youth feel unwanted).  Thus, kids within those two NY Burroughs (mostly African American and Puerto Rican Americans) began to experiment with their own versions of a pop art, as evidenced by the vivid colors and sharp edges of those early works. Interestingly, graffiti was just one element of a larger urban collective movement known as Hip Hop, which incorporated dance, music, and poetry into an amalgam of expression. These combined elements are what have made Hip Hop, and graffiti, a long-lasting and socially important urban movement.”
In discussing the growing popularity of graffiti, his initial interest in the activity and its effect on the law, Brief expounds rather succinctly.  His foresight into its coming trends is also gleaned over:
“I was however, artistically inclined at a much younger age, which is perhaps why graffiti came so naturally to me,” said Brief.  “I was first exposed to graffiti by the older brother of one of my childhood friends; he would create elaborate sketches and drawings and hang them on my friend’s bedroom wall…I can earnestly say that many of our country’s anti-graffiti laws are misguided and place a heavy burden on our criminal justice system…in this sense, people’s rights act more as a deterrent than the law…out of the understanding that business owners and tax payers should not have to pay for my need of expression.”
“An important contributing factor to the spread and prevalence of graffiti has been the Internet. Through social, entertainment, and marketing media sites, many countries around the world can now see and learn about graffiti and the urban culture.”
Panic1.jpgExperienced street artist, “Panic!” has a long history with the craft.  In fact, his linkage to graffiti extends over a couple of decades and crosses some of the topics enumerated above, including aspects upon the appealing lure of the art form down to its colored history:
“My rendition of today's graffiti is like most versions,” said Panic.  “Los Angeles had a graffiti influence from the Cholo, Pachuco-Era.  Stylish blocks and wicked writing goes back to the ‘60's, or maybe even earlier.  New York and its ‘Subway Crushing Movement,’ with letter styles more associated with what we know as ‘contemporary graffiti’ began and exploded like wildfire in the early ‘70's till the present time.  Philadelphia was also impactful with its unique style of writing around probably the same time as New York.
“When the Internet was introduced, it created an avenue for the world and its many styles to begin to mesh.  Now you can see more world-wide influences throughout all the participating countries and cities.  I was introduced to graffiti in 1985…as a child, I always drew and had a passion for art.  My mother, uncles and most importantly, my brother were also always artistically inclined. This really facilitated in my participation in the art form.
“I find graffiti attractive primarily because of its colors,” continued Panic.  “There are no limits to what can be done, and no rules to follow.  This makes it ample for creativity.  Secondly, I really enjoy the many ways that a simple letter can be manipulated.  This is the only art form where so much emphasis is placed on the alphabet.  I really enjoy that and find it very attractive.”
Another graffiti adherent, “Ricks,” feels a nearly supernatural connection to the art of the public spaces in a modern architectural sphere.  Having rich ties to both the underground network of skateboarding and graffiti, he hails from the area of two splendid and grossly thick sub cultures.
“I've been painting for roughly about 22+ years now,” said Ricks.  “I first got involved around 1993, but didn't really start pushing it until 1997'ish.  It all started from skating the streets of Los Angeles while seeing graffiti on the walls and it became a natural progression.”
In compiling a short rendition of what exactly it is that gets the creative elements and gears riled up and ready for movement as far as motivation for urban art, Bob Edelson, in “New American Street Art:  Beyond Graffiti,” enumerates below:
“The artists who produce street art are, indeed, ‘artists’, though of a certain ilk.  They learn their craft like other graphic artists, somewhere, somehow, and when they think they’re ready, they want the world to see what they can do, but now.  They have no patience for gallery games, or commercial constraints, so they take their quite individual passions directly to the public, right out on the street, certain their labors of love will not survive, sometimes even risking the law.  And like great jazz artists, these yardbirds of color and form must improvise to fit their art to the beat of whatever wall and street they find to play.”
In the monumental effort of taking tangible innovative effort right out onto the contemporary landscape and risking life and limb (sometimes literally both) in the realm of urban graffiti, is an emboldening craft with a likely lustrous future ahead.  Its history is already rich, and its participants are found the globe over.  The next logical step would be in founding a more legal niche for the activity, but should it not, it will still stand for what it has from the outset:  an outlet for a mind delivering its inherent and preconceived notion of modern art to the public on an inviting platter, ready for all to relish.
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