Spotlight on – Tami Boyce- Illustrator & Graphic Designer – Updated 6/10/21

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Art is in the eye of the beholder.

Or the ear. Or the mind.

Artists of ALL mediums and talents are welcome under The Spotlight.




Tami Boyce

Illustrator & Graphic Designer





Tami Boyce, an illustrator and graphic designer with a fun and whimsical style, is based in Charleston, South Carolina. 

“Holding a pencil in my hand has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I count myself as an extremely lucky individual because I have been able to make a career out of it. We all live in a very serious world, and I like to use my quirky style to remind us of the love, joy, and humor that is often overlooked around us.”

To see more of Tami’s work, visit

Social Media Links:


Instagram: @tami_draws




What medium(s) do you work in and why?

With my art, my main medium is pen and ink. I draw everything by hand and then do the coloring and textures on the computer. I love drawing on paper – it just feels more organic to me than digital drawing. I love the slight imperfections and personality that inked lines give you. 

I also love doing the coloring and textures on the computer for a mixed media sort of effect. So many of my backgrounds and aesthetics have been happy accidents through experimenting. Many of my illustration series have very different looks and represent what I was feeling/playing around with at that particular time.




Is this how you make your living?

Yes. I am proud (and lucky) to be a full-time creative. I split my professional time between illustration and graphic design. I love that every day is different and every client is a new experience. 




What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

I think the world can be a world can be a very serious and competitive place. I want my art to convey a sense of levity about life and remind people about the fun stuff in the world – mainly love and humor. 

It took me a long time to become confident in my illustration style. I’ve been drawing in a cartoon style since I was a kid, but I was never really encouraged that this was “art.” One day I realized that while there are already plenty of artists who offer beautiful sunset paintings to the world, maybe it’s my job to make sure the world has enough illustrations of llamas on bikes and narwhals holding balloons! 

I pull inspiration for my art from both my humor and my heart. Some of my illustrations are observations on life, some are memories, and some are wishful thinking as to how animals might actually behave in the wild. 

My goal with my illustration is that I convey something that relates to the viewer, touches their heart, or at least brings a smile to someone’s face.



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

My art comes from a very authentic place, and sometimes putting it out there can feel very raw and vulnerable. My last series was extremely personal and came from me processing the feelings of love and loss after my mother’s passing. When you put something out there like that and get negative feedback, it’s hard to not take that personally, as it feels like it is an extension of you. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, and while the process has become much easier to put myself out there, I am still filled with some fear each time I release a new series.  




Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

My next show will be in December 2021 at the Orange Spot Coffeehouse in North Charleston, SC. 

To see my current body of work, you can visit my website: or my online shop:









Geno Reynolds

YouTube Creator


What medium(s) do you work in and why?
When it comes to doing anything on YouTube, the more you know how to do, the easier it is to produce content. I went to school for graphic design and use a lot of what I learned there in my work. Having an understanding of programs like Adobe Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects helps you to make your vision of what you want your channel to be a reality.



Is this how you make your living?
While I’d love this answer to be “YES”, right now it is more of a hobby…not that I would ever trust YouTube as a trusted or sustainable source of income anyway. That being said, I use the term “hobby” loosely because there are times that I have to put a lot of time into the projects that go onto my channel. It can both feel like and use up any extra time like a job can.



What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?
I used to call myself a critic like it was some kind of badge of honor or something, but I don’t…can’t really do that anymore. I see way too many “critics” out there giving their opinions on movies, games, etc….which is fine…but some of them act like their opinion is the only one that matters. Some act like their…you know…doesn’t stink like everybody else’s. I don’t want to be like that. I know this can be a contradictory statement sometimes, but really…everyone’s a critic…everyone’s opinion matters. I always want to hear everyone’s opinion (as long as their cool like Fonzie) on whatever it is I’m talking about, even if we don’t agree.

That’s leads to another thing that I like to put out there to YouTubeland. I just want people to be cool to each other out there. Granted, this is a losing battle unfortunately. Youtube (and many other social media platforms for that matter) has become a place to go to for drama, hate, etc. I’d love to see it become a place where people can just go to have fun again. While I would never claim perfection, I do my best to include everyone as long as there not there just to start trouble. Easier said than done sometimes.



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?
I’ll have to use the term “selling” in a different context since YouTube doesn’t exactly “pay the bills”. Getting noticed on the site has been a pretty near impossible task over the years. I’ve had a channel since the end of 2011, but only have around 1,500 subscribers…and this is mostly because I have a friend that has a pretty big channel, so he’s helped me out at times. Something I’ve noticed about YouTube is this: (and if I can borrow a quote from former WCW president Eric Bischoff.) “Controversy Creates Cash”. Getting your message out there has only gotten harder and harder as the “algorithm” gravitates more to drama, hit pieces and “commentary”. That, along with companies with big money taking more and more of the potential audience away and it gets tougher to “sell” yourself on the platform.



Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?
Other than a quick break here and there, I’m usually putting out some form of content. While I usually focus on movie reviews, I manage to get some gameplays and other projects I’m interested in doing out there. For those that are interested in seeing what I’m doing, just head to The Reel Geno YouTube Channel.


Anything else to add?
I hope that people give a chance to “the other side” of YouTube. There are a ton of great content creators out there (way better than me) that get lost in the void that is YouTube. Give some smaller channels a chance…you never know what you’ll find.





Twitter: @TheReelGeno



Twitch: genos_bad_at_games

Bum Wine Bob Blog:





Jeff Ignatowski

Game Creator


What medium do you work in (and why?)

I am a collectible card game creator. I have been creating games since I was 8 years old and forcing my friends to play them all…lol. My passion for horror started at 5 years old when my dad forced me to watch the original Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Then his stories of meeting Charles Manson and knowing Angelo Bruno just fueled my love of all things true crime. 




Is this how you make your living?

This is currently a passion project for us that we hope to make into a full time living. It is something we love and dedicate lots of time to. I currently work a full time job as well.




What messages do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

I always want to express my sympathies for all those who have been affected by the horrible crimes that these people have committed. We never want to exploit or minimize their experiences. However, I know that I always want to educate and understand the many people that we come in contact with on a daily basis. With knowledge is power and the more we know about these people and their psychology the more we can protect ourselves. Not to mention, it’s OK to have fun with it and enjoy a good time with like minded people. 



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

The most challenging part is def the marketing and just getting the word out. Then it is equally challenging raising the capital so we can purchase in bulk. That way we can fulfill orders faster, have inventory for expos, and supply the stores that want to keep it in stock. 



Do you have a studio/shows where people can find your work?

We will be at the Haunters Against Hate: The Event in Louisville, KY July 30 – Aug 1st and Dark History Con in Chicago. 




Anything else to add?

Here is our


A short gameplay video: 









Nick Boddy

Visual Artist





Hey there, I’m Nick Boddy, a Central Illinois based photographer, craftsman, and jack of all trades, master of none! I was born in Nebraska, but grew up and spent most of my life in rural Illinois. Growing up in the middle of nowhere, you tend to learn to entertain yourself, and fortunately for me I was introduced to the world of woodworking very young by my father.

I also had a few really influential teachers who helped cultivate my passion for creativity at a young age. This continued while I was earning my Digital Media degree at Parkland College with one professor in particular who really helped me develop my creative potential. When I left school, I found myself facing down the realities of rent and utilities though, and put my creative dreams on the back-burner.

As it turns out, that isn’t really healthy for us creative types, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to NEED some creative outlets in my life. So, for a while I would dabble in this and that, until about 2 years ago when I started to really get burnt out on the whole 50 hour work week lifestyle, or lack thereof. I started to focus on health and wellness, another subject I’m passionate about, and ended up building a website and a whole brand really. It flopped, so I moved into the next thing and gradually I found myself giving more and more time to photography.

I turned 27 this year and finally had the realization that it’s time to accept the fact: the corporate lifestyle just isn’t going to cut it for this hippie. So, here we go!


What medium(s) do you work in and why?

Variety is the spice of life, but currently the two that I am most focused on are digital photography and woodturning. I was introduced to both mediums at a young age, somewhere between 8-10, and over the course of my life they are the two I find myself returning to most frequently. I’m starting to break back into digital media as well lately, as I’ve recently expanded my online store front to include some printed goods with my designs on.

In regards to why, I like working with photography because I’m fascinated with capturing a moment or idea in an image. Plus, in my case, most of what I shoot is landscape and nature, so there is always an adventure when the camera is out! As for turning, there is a bit more of a therapeutic effect that comes with working on the lathe (most of the time), and I’d say that’s ultimately why I choose to return to the medium.




Is this how you make your living?

Not yet, but I am working very diligently to bring that to fruition right now. Just this year, in fact, I’ve started marketing my photography services and have also begun offering my travel and landscape shots as prints for wall art. That progressed into opening an Etsy shop where I offer a few of my digital prints as well as a variety of turned gifts, and just this week, I actually began mocking up some digital designs for a few new lines of printable goods!

It’s an ever changing adventure, and I find myself growing rapidly as both an artist and an entrepreneur throughout the process. So, for right now I play the role of the starving artist, but I’m hoping with persistence, practice, and a bit of tenacity to make a successful full-time living out of it real soon!



What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

I like to think that if my artwork were to convey a message collectively, that it would be a combination of two of my favorite expressions or schools of thought. The first being “perspective is everything,” meaning essentially that our view of a subject tends to change tremendously as our perspective of the subject changes. I like to express this by experimenting with scale and different angles in my imagery. Altering color is something else that I experiment with frequently, boosting and muting colors to change the feel of a scene.

The second expression is a bit of a cliche; “Don’t forget to enjoy the little things in life.” I tend to think this is a bit easier to see in my artwork collectively, based on a lot of the subject matter in my photography especially, but then… that’s the beauty of art: every single person who sees it, does so from their own perspective!



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

Truthfully, I don’t have a well-established market yet, so right now the hardest part of selling is getting my work in front of the people who not only appreciate it for what it is and what goes into it, but would be interested in purchasing it for a fair price as well. For me, creating is the reward, and honestly, if I didn’t have bills to pay and dogs to feed, nothing would make me happier than creating for the sake of creating and giving every project away… but, that’s just unfortunately not the society I was born into.




Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

Currently, I am operating online using the Etsy platform to sell finished products, and my shop is called Hippie’s Galleria. One day I would like to open a studio with an attached workshop and maybe even offer courses and live workshops, but for now the online marketplace will be my home! People can also find my work and connect with me for projects on both Facebook and Instagram at TheHippieShoots.




Anything else to add?

I’d like to add a big thank you to Sue for asking me to participate in this interview! Also, for anyone who is interested in learning more about my work or staying up to date with what I’m doing, feel free to follow along on Facebook and Instagram @thehippieshoots, and be sure to check out Hippie’s Galleria on Etsy!



Facebook Page:


Hippie’s Galleria:




Rick Therrio

Visual Artist





Artist Statement

Rick has been a Chicago artist for many years. He exhibited publicly throughout the 80’s and 90’s at galleries such as World Tattoo and Art-o-Rama and was part of the collaborative known as The Colson Truck Group. . In 2012 he moved from Humboldt Park in Chicago to Lansing, IL and joined Paul Henry’s Art Gallery where he has exhibited his drawings, paintings, and work produced on a Wacom tablet. He has also become very involved with helping to manage the South Lake Artist’s Co-op.

His imagery has evolved from a wide variety of sources, music, films, literature,  comics, history, and science fiction. He finds an inexhaustible source of humor in the absurdity of existence.




What medium(s) do you work in and why?

Oil, because it has power and versatility,

Watercolor, because it’s fast

Colored pencil (Prismacolor) colored pencil is a lot of work, but nothing else looks like it

Wacom Tablet, endless possibilities

Pencil, Like to go back to basics every once in a while

Painted Lamps, I like to buy lamps from flea markets, clean & rewire them, and paint em. Usually a homage to my favorite artists.

Mixed Media, lately I’ve been buying broken toy robots from Goodwill and inventing new lives for them.

I also recently started doing a serialized comic on FaceBook called ‘THE OLD FAT DETECTIVE’ I was just screwing around when I started it, but it’s reached 36 pages and is not done yet




Is this how you make your living?

HA! I would starve to death with alarming rapidity if I tried that. I’m retired, and I spend my days making stuff. Life is good, except when it isn’t.



What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

My favorite theme is the seemingly endless absurdity of life



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

My work is a little bit too strange for most people’s living rooms. That, coupled with the fact that nobody has any money makes sales challenging indeed.



Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

The plague has pretty much wiped out my ability to exhibit anywhere. My artist friends and I are working to figure out how work may be shown in our current predicament.



Anything else to add?

Thank you for your interest in my work Sue, and for this opportunity to gabber about it. The closest thing I have to a website is an online gallery that my friend Joseph Crosetto built, in which I have a section that has a bunch of my work. I’m also on Instagram as ricktherrio.



1. ‘Tsar Bomba’ colored pencil 200?

2. ‘YORU(night) Bringer of Darkness’ mixed media 2020

3. ‘Brudek’s Car’ oil on canvas 2020

4. ‘What’s So Funny’ watercolor 2020




Anthony Rotolo





Why have you chosen to podcast about _______?

When I was casting about for a topic to investigate and share about, I felt there was a niche to be explored in telefilms. The big theatrical movies had been talked to death, or course. Films like Alien and Halloween and the Universal Horror films, etc. But comparatively little about television productions, very little about the small screen. Meanwhile, some great work had been done for TV and so it seemed to me to be a largely undiscovered country. Especially those nearly “lost” Movies-of-the-Week and forgotten genre series.

So, some years back I started researching and writing posts. The interest in this grew to the point that I started a dedicated discussion forum group and began a podcast. 110 episodes and a few years later, I feel I’ve only scratched the surface.




Biggest podcasting challenge to date?

The biggest challenge lately is simply time management. So many movies, so little time. I also podcast professionally. I host and produce several as part of my paid day job, and I’ve had to slow down some of my output on the hobby side of my podcasting efforts with TV TERROR. This means it’s taking me longer to traverse the landscape that I want to cover.

Other challenges have had to do with worrying about being entertaining enough when it’s only me — my shows are a solo flight, usually. But I do have guests. Friends and serious authors who have contributed much to the scholarly bookshelves of broadcast history. It’s been an honor and a challenge to do their books (and documentaries) justice, researching and prepping in order to extract the most out of an hour of their time. I really want the audience to walk away feeling it was worthwhile — if I can’t inform richly, I at least try to entertain with the frothier subjects. Either way, I want people to feel good about their time investment. To think that people would take time out of their lives to listen to little-old-me — that’s an honor that I don’t take for granted.

What are your favorite podcasts and why?

I love many shows. In the genre space, I first must pay tribute to two sadly defunct programs: Terror Transmission and Horror, Etc., both of which remain the best examples of their kind and the standard by which I measure my own efforts. Both brought a depth of research and refinement and respect for their audience’s intelligence that inspired my own work.

A few other random examples include Mysterious Legends Podcast (for their unparalleled research and preparation), Sleep With Me Podcast (for being so massively quirky and entertaining to sometimes-insomniacs like myself), and the efforts of my friends Mark Cain with Kingology, The Good The Bad and The Odd, and Anthologic podcasts, and also Vic Sage with his Saturday Frights show and other efforts. These two gentlemen are machines!


Who would enjoy listening to your podcast and why?

My show is pretty targeted but it’s also accessible. That’s to say that anyone who loves horror/thriller stuff, especially of the obscure variety, will like it. But there’s something pretty special there, I think, for the kids, like me, who came up in the 70s and 80s. And that’s because I pepper the program with old commercials and bumpers and trailers — elements that give it the feeling of that particular period in television history.


Have you done/will you be doing LIVE shows anywhere?

I haven’t done it. I think it’s one of the coolest evolutions and extensions of the podcasting phenomenon. And while I don’t know if I’ve got the following to pull it off now — I’m probably pretty small-fry compared to the people who do this — I wouldn’t rule it out.

Where/How can people find you?

I’m at You can also simply search TV TERROR in your podcatcher app. And you can join our Facebook group, TV TERROR, which has a smart, vibrant community. I consider it the hive mind – collectively, so much smarter than I will ever be on this subject.

Anything else to add?

I think podcasting is simply the magic of human conversation. It is endlessly fascinating, entertaining, informative. The irony is that we’re using technology to bring us back to the primal campfire — the place where knowledge was passed on and the great stories were told and human beings bonded via words and imagination. I hope I’m contributing to that tradition.




Diana Barwald

Visual Artist


What medium(s) do you work in and why?

Mostly acrylic paint and oil-based colored pencil on paper, illustration board and gesso board.  I like working with colored pencil because it’s a fairly tidy way to make art, but I find I get a better depth of color with acrylic paint and now work mostly with acrylic paint on flat surfaces.




Is this how you make your living?

Not even close.




What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

Mostly I’m just trying to entertain myself and make something pretty or interesting to look at.  Sometimes I try to express a personal opinion.




What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

Time.  I have worked full time to support myself since I was 18.  It’s hard to have enough time to make the art and market it in the time I have left.  But now that I’m on the verge of retirement, I am making a greater effort to get my artwork noticed.




Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

People can find my work for sale on the internet at




Anything else to add?

I find making art deeply satisfying.  Even if I never make very much money from it, just making it is the main point for me.  And I encourage everyone reading this interview to explore their own creative abilities.

Plus, I have also written a sci-fi trilogy of stories (short stories, heavily illustrated) about an android named Soo. I have attached the cover and first page of book one of the trilogy. I think I will try to self-publish this through Amazon.

I’m currently working on my first graphic novel, also a sci-fi story.

I plan on working one more year before retiring. It will be so fun to devote much more time to my art!



a scan of a recent painting of my cat (acrylic on gesso board)
a recent mandala (acrylic on illustration board)



Cam Chaney

Voice Over Actor



I was born in Knoxville, TN. My hometown is Loudon, TN.

Currently live in Chattanooga, TN with my wife Andrea and our two cats Strider and Rascal. Graduated Middle Tennessee State University with a BS in electronic media communication. My adventures in the voice over world have been very fortunate.

Started part time in 2005 and haven’t looked back.

Here is to 2020!




Give us an overview of what you are working on (or have worked on/written/produced):

First, I would like to tell about the first voiceover I ever did as a kid. I was probably 9 or 10 years old. I did my first ever radio spot for my local radio station in Loudon, TN. It was fun to do.

In 2014, I voiced a museum character for a World War II project called Soldiers’ Stories for Northern Light Productions, a Boston, MA production company.

In 2017, August Aguilar of Strange Films asked me to voice the role of the newscaster in his short film “Passenger” a supernatural / horror film short back in 2017.

Most recently, I had the opportunity in 2019 to be the book trailer narrator for author Rose Marie Machario’s

“The Amulet of Elements” a fantasy book. I had a blast recording the book trailer. One of my favorite voiceover highlights.




What is your method – or – how do you go about preparing to do a Voice Over (V.O)?

First, lots of breathing exercises to loosen your vocal cords and muscles. Then practice reading the script aloud. Then you have to think about what audience you are sending the message to. For example, let’s say I am voicing a commercial spot for a food product like ice cream. I would want to pretend that a good friend or relative is standing right in front of me while I am reading. Just thinking about their reaction to the product and reading the copy like your in conversation with someone makes all the difference. Also enunciation and pronunciation is key to voiceover.




How does one become a V.O. actor / actress?

That is a very interesting question. First, meeting other people who have the same passion whether new or experienced. My suggestion is to enroll in an intro to voiceover workshop. You will either like it or it might not be for you. If it is for you, then you can try other workshops such as commercial, audiobook narration, etc. Going to VO conferences is a big advantage. My first conference was VO Atlanta back in 2016. It opened my eyes up to so many possibilities. My commercial demo was produced  by Joe Loesch.





What is your biggest frustration with the current film industry?

My biggest gripe is I think more theaters should show more films in 35 or 70 mm format. The true director’s vision. Also there is good CGI and bad CGI.




Do you believe that someone has to live in NY or LA to be successful in the business? Why or why not?

Not at all.  Nowadays with the proper equipment and studio one can work out of the comforts of their own home.




What are your 3 top films that you enjoy and why?

The Empire Strikes Back:  One of the best sequels ever. Great story, special effects, character driven. Kudos to Frank Oz for his wonderful performance of Yoda.

Ghostbusters:  I can watch it over and over again. Great special effects for the time plus Bill freaking Murray!

Lost in Translation:  I remember going to the theater to see this masterpiece. Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and director Sofia Coppola made this come alive. To me its amazing to see Bill Murray go from comedy to drama.




Add anything else you would like to share with us.

My voiceover website:





Anthony D.P. Mann

Actor/Film Maker



ANTHONY D.P. MANN is a Canadian-based actor and film-maker with 5 feature films under his belt, and a wealth of credits on stage / TV / etc.

Over the course of his career, Anthony has portrayed such diverse characters as Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, and Ebenezer Scrooge – among others.  His musical film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  (featuring Doctor Who’s Colin Baker) was screened on PBS in 2015, and will be available from retailers every in November 2016. Visit Anthony on IMDB for information on his film career. Aside from film-making, Anthony is also in demand as a freelance voice artist, recently recording a series of vinyl releases for Cadabra Records featuring original scores by Fabio Frizzo (The Beyond), Maurizio Guarini (of Goblin fame) and others.

In 2016, Anthony founded Bleak December Inc., a multi-media company whose main focus is the creation of new, full-cast audio dramas. Their releases have included Dracula (starring Tony Todd), The Houd of the Baskervilles (featuring Sir Derek Jacobi), Casting the Runes (with David Warner), The Canterville Ghost (with Colin Baker), The Dunwich Horror (featuring Robert Powell) The Signal Man and A Christmas Carol (both starring Sylvester McCoy), with many new titles in the pipeline.

Bleak December’s current release is Return to Frightenstein, an audio continuation of the cult TV favourite The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, and features Anthony is several roles (including The Count, The Librarian, The Oracle and Dr. Pet Vet) alongside Malcolm McDowell as Host, and a full cast of talented voice actors. In May 2020, Bleak December will unleash it’s audio adaptation of The Wicker Man, featuring Anthony as protagonist Sgt. Howie, alongside Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) as Lord Summerisle, and a full cast of voice talent including Laurence R. Harvey (of the Human Centipede film series).

Make sure to visit / Facebook for all the latest updates from Anthony and Bleak December.


Give us an overview of what you are working on (or have worked on/written/produced):

I’ve been quite fortunate to dabble in various mediums over the course of my career. I stopped trying to identify myself years ago, as I’ve had the pleasure of working as an actor on stage / in film / on audio, as a director of films (five of them), a singer, and as a writer (I reckon I’ve written over 100 scripts over the past 25 years!)… so now, I prefer to simply identify as a storyteller, because everything I do is centered around the various ways I can tell stories and entertain people.

These days, I find great joy in the audio medium – writing, producing and appearing in some wonderful full-cast audio plays (alongside some of my heroes like Sylvester McCoy, Malcom McDowell, Colin Baker, Sir Derek Jacobi and others), and also serving as a narrator for some deliciously sinister tales published on vinyl by Cadabra Records. The next “biggie” in the pipeline is a licensed audio adaptation of one of my favorite films, The Wicker Man, which I get to co-star in alongside the great Brian Blessed… what an honor!




What is your method – or – how do you go about producing your screenplays/where do you find actors/talent?

I learned years ago that opportunity doesn’t necessarily show up knocking on one’s door, and that it was important to create my own opportunities if I wanted to enjoy a fulfilling career as an actor. Much of my work is self-produced, which allows me control over how our stories are told. Although people may not always agree with the direction I take a production, there’s no denying that my work is always true to my vision… for better or for worse, LOL (mostly better, I hope)! I only produce material that I enjoy, because you become married to each project for such a long time, it would be miserable to commit that amount of time and energy to something that my heart wasn’t completely invested in.

I’ve learned to write within our means, budgetary and otherwise, which allows us to maximize the resources that we do have, and realize a project to fruition… so many writers set out with grand ideas and unrealistic expectations – kudos to them, but that often makes getting a project MADE very difficult. Maybe I just set the bar low? I don’t think so… I’m very proud of everything that we have accomplished.

Another key is to engage the right talent. I’m surrounded by some wonderful, talented people in Bleak December (actors Terry Wade, Anne-Marie Bergman, Amie Bello, Nik Yuen, Steve Spencer, Dave Hudson, Melissa Radford – to name only a few… and of course our brilliant house composer, Brent Holland, whose original scores elevate our work), as well as my co-producer and spiritual brother Bill Bossert, who has helped make so much of my work a reality. I’m blessed to be surrounded by these wonderful people, and our work is all the better for it.




What is your biggest frustration with the current film industry?

Expectations. There’s a difference between how a $10k indie film is made, and how a multi-million dollar studio picture is produced. Indie filmmakers should be celebrated for what they have been able to accomplish DESPITE their limitations… there are too many armchair critics out there, and it can be demoralizing and exhausting. I don’t think the average viewer has any understanding of how much effort goes into crafting an independent film – it’s a Hellish existence, and I think all we independent filmmakers are self-masochists to some degree, haha.




Do you believe that someone has to live in NY or LA to be successful in the business? Why or why not?

I think a proximity to opportunity / the centers of the industry is important, if you want to make a lot of money or sustain a regular income at it. I’m very happy creating work I enjoy (I get to pick and choose my projects) on my own terms, in Kingston Ontario. I’ll never be a rich Mann off my efforts, but I’m certainly fulfilled by them… most days 😉




What are your 3 top films that you enjoy and why?

1) The Changeling (1980) – My favorite film of all-time! Not only is Peter Medak’s film the greatest haunted house movie ever made, it’s central performance by the late, great George C. Scott is a masterclass in acting.

2) A Christmas Carol (1984) –Second favorite film, and another masterful performance by George C. Scott – Clive Donner’s adaptation is the definitive telling of Dickens’ story… it might even be better than my own humble contribution to the Carol canon!

3) This slot has a rotating selection, depending on my mood: El Conde Dracula (1970, Jess Franco’s version of the Stoker novel, starring a moustachioed Christopher Lee), The Devil Rides Out (1968 – another Lee film from Hammer), Night of the Demons (the 1957 adaptation of M.R. James’ Casting the Runes), and the original Wicker Man (1973)… all honorable mentions.




Add anything else you would like to share with us.

I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan, and have a collection of original screen-used props from both the classic and new series on display in my studio – which you enter from a professionally-made mock-up of the TARDIS! My dream role (and this has remained unchanged since I was four years old!) would be to play The Doctor in some official context. I had the chance to do it in a Montreal Fringe Festival show in the 1990’s, and relished every minute of it. Someone needs to start a petition 😉






August Aguilar 

Film Director



I am the Director of Strange Films, a multi-media production company that produces films, comic books, music, and art. I have built a shared universe of stories, following something similar to the Marvel formula of storytelling.



Give us an overview of what you are working on (or have worked on/written/produced): 

Most recently, I finished my short film “Pandora” that actually was a competition film where we had two weeks to write, shoot, and edit a film. The film won three awards including Best Director. Up next we will be in Philadelphia working on our final film in our “CENTER CITY” series: “CENTER CITY 2”.

Pandora (Short Film)

What is your method – or – how do you go about producing your screenplays/where do you find actors/talent? 

My methods are pretty consistent as far as producing a film. It usually starts with an idea, bounce it around and then write it out. Once the story is clear and the inspiration is set, I seek actors mostly through Facebook groups for filmmakers and acting talents. I’ll usually communicate through email and check on reels/resumes, and then make my decision to cast.

Then its on to location scouting and then finally production! Overall, the anticipation of it all is the most stressful, but when on set with people I tend to have a very relaxed directing approach. I let my talent run with the script and characters as seem fit to the vision, and we really just have a lot of fun making it.



What is your biggest frustration with the current film industry? 

The biggest frustration in the film industry is most people tend to set standards of what a “good” film is. I believe mostly from my experience in film festivals and other screenings, that most people who watch these films are more inclined to give recognition to the films who have very high budgets but often lack a personality or core value to the story, versus a film that may be on a lower or no budget situation and may not look the prettiest, but has a really in depth story behind it. I believe we should give more props to the underdogs out there.



Do you believe that someone has to live in NY or LA to be successful in the business? Why or why not? 

In today’s day and age, I think it’s absolutely not necessary to live somewhere like LA or NY to be successful. First, success is what you make it. You can literally be successful in any way you seem fit if you put the work into it and are happy with the accomplishments that you’ve made.

Secondly, I believe though those cities are glamorous, they are a bit overrated and way too expensive. A lot of this stuff is about who you know and how you get your vision out there. I believe everyone has the capability of finding that kind of success in their hometown or place of residency if they are talented and push far enough.



What are your 3 top films that you enjoy and why?

My top 3 films would have to be:

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Directed by Frank Capra

“Taxi Driver” Directed by Martin Scorsese 

“The Dark Knight” Directed by Christopher Nolan 


Nolan and Scorsese are in my top 5 list of Directors. “Taxi Driver” is such a gritty and personal story behind Robert De Niro’s character, it’s a really powerful and fun film. “The Dark Knight” really humanizes such a fictional world that any fan of Batman is used to, there’s a lot of symbolism at play and it keeps things very grounded. Plus the amazing performances by Heath Ledger and Christian Bale. Finally, “It’s A Wonderful Life” is just a beautiful story that I watch every year on Christmas Eve to remind myself of my blessings, family, and friends in my life. That film makes me feel very humble.



Add anything else you would like to share with us.

Strange Films is all about connecting and finding our audiences. I encourage anybody to check out our work, reach out to us, listen to our podcasts, or even read one of our comic books. Supporting independent cinema is one of the best things we can do for creators so we are just always looking to invite new friends to our films and help others while we can.

Lastly as a side note, we do have a Kickstarter campaign going on that is making our second comic book come to life. If you would be interested in being a part of creating a comic and scoring some Strange Films goodies, here is the link!



Kevin Conlin

Visual Artist – Wood Worker




I’ve lived in the Bloomington area my entire life, born and raised in McLean.  In fact, I do all my woodworking at the family farm just south of McLean.  I was a broadcaster (radio & TV) for 25+ years, and while sometimes I miss it, I don’t miss the political & ego BS involved with it.  I currently live in Bloomington with my wife and our three crazy dogs.


1.What medium do you work in, and why?

I’m a woodworker.  But not big cabinets and furniture – I prefer making puzzles, toys, and small decorative items.  I started doing woodworking as an offshoot of my participation in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a medieval historical organization.  My father Ken (the first “K” of K&K Woodworks) and I made some simple period camp furniture, and it started branching out from there.  I’m primarily self-taught, between on-line videos, books, woodworking magazines, and playing around in the shop.


2. Is this how you make your living?

Not so much.  I have a “regular” full-time job, but the woodworking business has been growing.


3. What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

Ummm….please buy my stuff so I can eat today?  (JUST KIDDING – DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THIS ONE!!!)


4. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

As a small, newer business, it is always difficult to find good venues to display and merchant my work.  Selling within the SCA is good, but means a very limited audience.  I’ve been trying to branch out to local farmer’s markets and other art/craft shows, but it is often a slow progress, getting the right contacts and information in time.  Facebook and other social media can be useful, but can’t really compare with a customer being able to see and feel the woodwork in person.


5. Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

While I don’t have a studio to display my work, I am setting up a basic webpage,, where people can see and purchase some of my items.  I also have a limited Etsy page – K&K Woodworks.  I will be participating in the Thanksgiving and Christmas Farmer’s Markets (Nov 23 & Dec 21, at Grossinger Motors Arena).   Beyond that, I’m still in the planning stages for what fairs/markets I will be at next year.


6. Anything else to add?

I’ve never really considered myself an “artist” – I’m just a guy who likes to make toys and such with wood.  I can have the most stressful week at work, but as soon as I get to the shop with dad, and the scroll saw starts going, the rest of the world fades away.  Having that kind of artistic outlet is very important to staying sane in this increasingly insane world.





Angel Rosa


Bio : 

Angel Rosa was born in the city of Danbury, Connecticut. His parents, Luis and Mercedes, moved to the mainland from Puerto Rico when they were teens, settling in Danbury where they met and eventually married. Angel, a single parent since 2009, currently lives in Danbury, pursuing a career as a writer and filmmaker, while raising his 15 year-old daughter. He is the founder and president of Hat City Pictures, LLC, an award-winning independent film production company based in Danbury.




Give us an overview of what you are working on (or have worked on/written/produced): 

My first film festival success was a really well-received allegorical drama, Only Moments. That was more of an art house film. My first real breakout film, as far as public reaction, was a horror short titled, Laundromat*. That was shot in one night at a local laundromat in Danbury, and even I think it’s creepy as hell. Laundromat has been featured on a couple of international horror film websites and screened at various film festivals. It was most recently featured as the 2019 season premiere episode of a horror anthology webseries, A Slice Of Fright.

In 2018, we released our short suspense thriller, Samuel’s Got A Sweet Tooth, which has gone on to achieve some pretty remarkable success on the international film festival circuit, earning us a litany of awards along the way. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a short that comes in at a running time of just 4 minutes and 52 seconds. We refer to the project as “the little film that could.”

Right now we’re in post-production on a short drama, Two Sneakers in a Bucket, that touches on the sensitive topic of aging and assisted suicide. That is geared up for an early fall release, and we’re going directly to the festival circuit with this one. The film is based on an original script written by a wonderfully talented first time screenwriter, George Barnett, and it has some very powerful and profoundly touching scenes. Adding my own directorial flair to the storyline gives it an added air of mystery with a slight hint of suspense as well. I expect more great things for this one.

Our next project is a horror thriller, Let’s Do Things That Make Us Happy, which contains some elements of abstract imagery mixed with an increasingly foreboding sense of urgency. You could almost say it’s a slasher film, from an entirely different perspective. We’re very psyched about all of these projects.





What is your method – or – how do you go about producing your screenplays/where do you find actors/talent? 

My method? In a word: Madness. I’m joking, of course, but only kind of, sort of. Creativity is a dynamic art form for me. I personally never feel comfortable settling on a fixed destination way ahead of time. To me this only serves to lock the artist—writer, filmmaker, whatever—into a specific path that he or she then feels compelled to take in order to get to and justify this climax they’ve thought so long and hard about. I understand that very process is what most artists employ, and often with great success. It’s just something I prefer to avoid.

I’m not saying I go into production on a film without a finished script, but when I’m on location, and we’ve got the actors and the whole crew there and ready to rock, I might realize halfway through a proposed scene or shot sequence that this, or that, would look way cooler, sound more logical from a character, or more importantly, would add further depth to the story. So I’ll be on set, I’ll see the setup, the lighting configuration or the camera placement and I’ll start envisioning every possible combination of scenarios.

It’s a weird process that reminds me of that one character from Men In Black 3, I think it was. There’s this hat-wearing alien dude, ‘Griffin’, played by the wonderful actor Michael Stuhlbarg, who’s at this party talking to Will Smith’s character. As Griffin is engaging in small talk, or trying to, he’s going over the probability of any number of possible scenarios about to unfold at any minute. He’s not imagining these scenarios, he’s actually seeing them unfold in his head because he’s able to see parallel timelines overlapping. Though he’s uncertain as to what outcome will take place in the universe he’s in at the moment. That’s me on set sometimes. It’s not all that often, but yes, there are times where I stand there, surrounded by my people, and I’m working it all out in my head. Like, “Crap. I think it might look or work better this or that way, instead of what we originally planned.” I want what’s best for the ultimate outcome. Not necessarily what’s most expedient or convenient for anyone else.

Anyone reading this who works for big Hollywood might giggle a bit at that whole idea, but trust me, it’s a nervous laughter. Unless you’re a high profile director who’s already made them a shit-ton of money, and/or strike a super sweet deal with a studio, in Hollywood you have almost zero real input into the filming schedule, or least of all the final cut of the film. Working under such a microscope, with studio executives breathing down your neck, and the financial bottom line at the forefront of their every thought, you don’t have the same kind of latitude that indie filmmakers tend to have. If we get a shot in one take—magnificent. If it takes 12 or 20, yeah, that’s going to happen too. As needed. Though realistically speaking, the latter scenario is a rarity for me. We try to get it right within the first 3 to 4 takes.




What is your biggest frustration with the current film industry? 

My biggest gripe with Hollywood over the last couple of decades, really, is the state of reboot purgatory we find ourselves trapped in. I have never really understood Hollywood’s fascination with remakes, sequels, and prequels. For some of the popular franchises, the 007 films, etc., okay, maybe I get that. These aren’t meant to be one-offs. The audience wants more stories tied into a particular universe or cast of characters. This might arguably be less pure laziness and more good old fashioned American capitalism at work; mindless money grabs. But the constant remakes of old classics, or the reboots of long dead franchises, or what was once a shitty cartoon in the 80s now being made into a gazillion dollar film directed by Michael Bay—that is indicative of a serious case of creative famine currently plaguing Hollywood. They’ve run out of ideas, or at least forgot how to go out and find the right people who have them. They’re out there, believe me, in great abundance. *coughs* Call me…




Do you believe that someone has to live in NY or LA to be successful in the business? Why or why not? 

Speaking of “the right people”,  it’s a perfect seque into this next question. No, I don’t believe that someone has to live in New York or L.A. to be successful in the film business. The rise of the truly independent filmmaker in America gives clear testimony that one doesn’t have to surrender to the delusion of packing their bags and moving to Hollywood in order to become a success. Movies are being made everywhere. In my experience, it’s more about one’s own capacity to hustle; to get out there and rub elbows and network with the right sorts of people. The actor, screenwriter, filmmaker, etc. who believes that he or she is going to make it on their talent alone is absolutely fooling themselves, and in turn inflicting a great deal of harm on their chances of success by taking on an attitude that they can just wait around to be ‘discovered’. No, you need to get your ass out there, and make people discover you. But you don’t need New York or Los Angeles for that, you need you.




What are your 3 top films that you enjoy and why?

Let me start by going on the record as playfully objecting to this question. Not because it’s a bad question in any way. In fact, it’s a great question. Just one that always makes me feel compelled to narrow down my love for films to two or three all-time favorites. Citizen Kane, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, there are so many. It is very difficult, if not impossible, as a cinema lover to settle on just a few films that stand out to me, but I will say from a point of view of influence, the films of Stanley Kubrick have had a tremendous impact on me. 2001: A Space Odyssey remains unparalleled to this day. As far as its use of abstract storytelling, blended with its remarkable ‘spatial cognition’, if that term doesn’t sound pretentious AF.

Kubrick uses the spaces he films in as essential elements of the story, not just as incidental backgrounds. The vastness of that primal desert terrain on which the early hominid species are forced to contend with the various perils of nature, also underscoring how much ‘space’ there was—yet the ape creatures still managed to wage war with one another over turf and resources. Some things never change. Though in all honestly, if there’s one film that first made me go, “Holy shit. I want to do THAT!” it has to be Star Wars. It’s well beyond cliche to say that, I know, but it’s a reality nonetheless. As a boy, I would grab my mother’s clothes pins and just lie there on the carpet, with one eye closed to simulate the POV of a camera, and turn each clothes pin into flying vessels—imperial and rebel forces clashing in this impossibly loud ‘vacuum’ of space. Sound effects provided by yours truly. LOL




Add anything else you would like to share with us.

Get up. Get out. Make movies. Write scripts. Pen novels. Sing. Dance. Paint. Don’t just follow your dreams, grab them by the neck and put them in a headlock until they surrender unconditionally to your will. 🙂


*Link to Laundromat (Where was she):



angel headshot[802]





Nora Zaring

Visual Artist


1. What medium(s) do you work in and why?

I normally work in Oils or Acrylics.  I started in oils with lessons from a Bob Ross certified instructor.  I took lesson from her for about 12 years. Then I started teaching to my clients at Home Sweet Home Ministries where I worked in addiction recovery and later later was Education Coordinator.  Art was a powerful tool for helping people to see their own potential and become more engaged in their own recovery.  Art brought a new light to their eyes and purpose to their lives.  It was from this that our nonprofit, Threshold to Hope, Inc. was later born.


2. Is this how you make your living?  

Not exclusively.  I am a co-founder of Inside Out: Accessible Art, which is a co-op of a large variety of artists with many different mediums.  I have a studio there which acts as a showroom for my art as well as being featured in the gallery.  I also teach classes in their classroom and between the sale of art and teaching fees, I make enough to keep me in rent and art supplies.  I am currently retired but have started a nonprofit, Threshold to Hope, Inc., that offers art opportunities to those who cannot afford to take traditional classes.  These free classes offer people a safe place to express themselves and gives the healing power of art.

*(Newly Added!)

Threshold to Hope will be moving into the classroom of Inside Out: Accessible Art as our new home. Our hours will be changing to Tuesdays and Fridays from 10-2pm. At this time we will be creating only there. We will still be looking for places and opportunities to sell the budding artists’ works.


3. What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?

I love working with clouds and water.  To me they embody the joy of God’s creation.  I also enjoy working with landscapes and florals.  They all express the beauty of God’s world.


4. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

I’m not a natural born salesperson.  I’m more of an introvert, so promoting myself is difficult for me.  I can do it for short periods of time but I’m not good at it.




5. Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?  

My work can be seen during business hours at Inside Out: Accessible Art in the gallery and in my studio.  I will also be showing my art alongside my student from Threshold to Hope, Inc. at the Art Fair at Sugar Grove Nature Center on July 22nd from 10:00-2:00.  We will also be demonstrating spin art at the art fair.



6. Anything else to add? 

I call myself an ADD artist because I love to do so many different things.  I learn a lot of what I do on YouTube and love to share it with my students at Threshold to Hope.  I currently am teaching two days a week at our rented space with Palms Together Yoga and alternate between Home Sweet Home and Salvation Army on Wednesdays.  I love when my artists bring my a picture and ask if we can paint it.  It often is an experiment, but many times it turns out great and it’s fun for them to see my work through the creative process.

My work can be seen on the Facebook pages of Inside Out: Accessible Art, Glorious Expressions, or Threshold to Hope, Inc.


My websites are: (my personal art)  or  for my students’ art.









Tony Cade:

Visual Artist



What medium(s) do you work in and why?  

Oil, acrylic, watercolors,colored pencil,sculpture. Either they’re handy at the time or it’s just what floated my boat



Is this how you make your living?

I wish.


What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?  

Not really a message. Just like to do art.



What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

Getting someone to buy it.



Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

No. Not really.





Joann Goetzinger

Visual Artist



Music education was my main study in undergraduate school at Illinois Wesleyan. I studied vocal performance at the American Conservatory of Music and taught voice at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State for some time. I worked also at the library at Illinois State.


I became interested in the visual arts, studied at Illinois State and received an MFA in art there in 1988. Since then I have been working in metal working, sculpture and painting. My interests are many. Cooking and gardening are my favorite hobbies.


My jobs have been an interesting variety also. I have worked in a canning factory as a corn taster, as a waitress, in a factory making washing machine coils, working in a music store and a store selling cooking supplies, in a bookstore as an order clerk, working in a laundry, working as a nanny and cook, teaching voice, piano, choral music and metal working. I also sang two years with the Norman Luboff touring choir. In April 2008, Martha Burk and I started Main Gallery 404 in downtown Bloomington and owned it until 2013.


Needless to say, I am never bored.




What medium(s) do you work in and why?  

I work in painting with both oil and acrylic paint because the expression of color, along with shape and line, is primary to my work. In addition, I utilize wood and metal to construct a painting.


Is this how you make your living?  

No, I am retired from Illinois State University and now work in art full time, but do not necessarily make a living from it.


What message(s) do you try to convey/express through your work, if any?  

I work with shape, color and line and the message of the resulting work is largely left to the viewer.


What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of selling your work?

Many viewers in this area want their purchased art to be recognizable subjects. My work is not meant to be any recognizable subject but is abstract in nature.


Do you have a studio/upcoming shows where people can find your work?

My studio is in downtown Bloomington Illinois at 313A North Main Street. I am open usually on W-F from 12-5 and Saturdays 9-4.   I am always open on first Fridays until 8 pm.


Anything else to add? 

The following piece is one from a series of recent works.  It is called “Silver Threads”. Painted in acrylic and oil on wood.   Size is 24” x 18”.


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