Interview With “Maki” filmmaker Naghmeh Shirkhan!

NaghmehOut of all male nominees, Naghmeh Shirkhan won Best Director for her feature film Maki at this past week’s Chelsea Film Festival, a victory that both surprises but makes sense to the filmmaker. “It’s been such a long road for me, and I have kept at it. To me, it should not matter whether you’re male or female, the work should stand on its own,” Shirkhan told So Booking Cool.

Maki, which took 18 days to shoot, captures the story of a New York-based young Japanese woman’s coming-of-age. The film explores the themes of love and loss, power and manipulation.

Film_coverShirkhan, an Iran native, knew she wanted to work in film when she was in high school. She worked at a video store throughout her teens and early twenties in her hometown of Boston, and then attended film school. Once she graduated, she stayed committed to her passion and moved to New York where she worked in advertising and editing on the production side. While she knew she wanted to be an independent filmmaker, she lacked connections in the industry. But Shirkhan held onto her vision and eventually made her debut, critically-acclaimed film, The Neighbor.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Shirkhan’s journey to filmmaking; Maki; what she thinks can be done to increase the amount of women filmmakers; the advantages that aspiring directors have today; her views on making movies on phones and casting; her love for books and how novels influence her; and more! For more information, visit http://maki-film.com/ and follow Shirkhan on Instagram.

Interview With Jerald L. Hoover, Author of “My Friend, My Hero”!

HOOVERThough it took nine years for Jerald L. Hoover to get his book, My Friend, My Hero published, it would later celebrate 25 years of release; win multiple awards and garner accolades; become a semi-finalist in the Gotham Screenplay Contest; and make Hoover a staple in his hometown of Mount Vernon. He was awarded with the WritersCorp Award by president Bill Clinton and was among the top selling black authors in the early 90’s. The professor, motivational speaker, playwright, award-winning author and sports journalist is now excited for the new generation to be introduced to My Friend, My Hero, the first in a series.

The young adult novel tells the story of Bennett Wilson, a level-headed athlete who seemingly has it all with the top colleges lining up to sign him to their basketball roster, but life tests him in a major way when his mother falls ill and behind on the rent, forcing Wilson to consider the bad road he’s always tried to avoid in order to save his family. The novel, which Hoover began writing when he was 17-years-old, is a powerful story of friendship, education, the choices one makes.

25th 3D Light Red Shirt“My endeavor is to reach everyone, but out of everyone I want 1 million young men to read the book because I really think it will shape their thinking to be more positive and proactive,” Hoover told So Booking Cool. “And I really think that will help America going forward.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Hoover’s journey to writing My Friend, My Hero and getting it published; how the book is still relevant; why he champions literacy; the comment he’ll always remember from a fellow reader about his book; the marketing ideas he implemented for his book; and info on the series; and more! For more information, follow Hoover on twitter, as well as the Hero Book series.

Interview With Artist and M.O.U.N. Records CEO Chas Bronxson!

chas bronxsonWith recent biopics such as The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story and documentaries like Unsung, many have come to understand the unfairness that can come with being a music artist, and M.O.U.N. Records founder and CEO, Chas Bronxson is no exception. In fact, it was the infamous shady contracts that he was offered as a teen that would eventually motivate him to take the independent route. “…I couldn’t get a decent record deal with a major record label, and even independent record label because they always offered a contract that just didn’t seem right,” he told So Booking Cool.

What also fueled him to take matters into his own hands was his protégé, Haley Williams, who he was eager to introduce to the world.  The hard work and determination would pay off. Williams’ heartfelt single “I Miss My Daddy” placed number 14 on the Digital Radio Track’s top 150 this past summer.

In addition to producing talent, M.O.U.N. Records, which is an acronym for Makings Of Unforgettable New Records, is launching a nonprofit organization for youth to learn about and use music and poetry as creative outlets. Bronxson also aims for the program to discuss serious topics such as the importance of fatherhood. “We want to make things really good for the kids coming up, so they’ll have something to look to, an outlet to uplift and express whatever it is that they are dealing with in life, to make things better and get the idea to do their own thing.”

Listen to the full interview, to learn more about Bronxson including the inspiration behind the stage name; his creative approach to his craft; his thoughts on internships; his thoughts on the technological benefits for artists and book lovers; when artists should and should not address rumors; the books and authors who have inspired him; his own forthcoming books; his perspective on singing competition shows, the powerful message of his song “When They’re Gone (An Ode to Michael Jackson)” and its controversial video, and a lot more! For more information, visit https://www.mounrecords.com.

Interview With Zachary S. Williams of “I Am Frankie”!

Zachary SBCFor something that was initially a hobby, young actor and musician Zachary S. Williams has serious goals for his career in entertainment. In addition to his aspiration to become a director, the Nickelodeon star also hopes to launch an organization that will connect children to the arts.

“Art, in general, is an important field that I think most people need to experience, and the younger, the better,” the 18-year-old told, So Booking Cool. “I think the younger you are, the more excited you would be to try new things.”

Williams, who has been active in show business for a decade, started in theater (he would love to act on Broadway someday), appeared in commercials, modeled in print ads, and even co-hosted the show Rays Rookies.  Later, he would land a role in the debut season of the hit series, Greenleaf, where he worked alongside Oprah Winfrey—probably the “most amazing experience” Williams says he could have.

He would then star on the popular series I Am Frankie, which tells the story of a teen girl living the double life of an android acting as a human in a risky attempt to preserve her safety.  While the show is meant to be entertaining, specifically for children, Williams believes the series also upholds the message that there are issues that can come with being different.

What is his advice for young people looking to break into the industry?

“Everything happens for a reason,” the Orlando, Florida native said. “And what’s meant for you will not pass you by.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Williams, including the career he thought he wanted to have, as well as how he studies his craft, what one can expecting from acting classes, his favorite book on acting, philanthropy, and more! For more information, visit Williams on social media.

Interview With Tom Wascoe, Author of “Child of the Dust”!

tom wascoe.pngThere are two things Tom Wascoe wants readers to take away from his book Child of the Dust: love conquers all and the importance of the Vietnam War. The story is inspired by Wascoe’s service in the army as well as his Corporate Officer career at a Fortune 100 company. He once told someone that he would write a book about the war, and accomplished his goal forty years later.

Child of the Dust tells the story of a soldier, Richie, who falls in love and procreates with a native, though he is forbidden to marry her. Richie is obligated to leave the army and returns to life in America. Two decades later, however, they reunite, along with his son.

“The whole Vietnam experience was very important to me, the struggles and the people that we left behind,” the author told So Booking Cool.

Child of the Dust coverPrior to penning Child of the Dust, Wascoe was not a reader of romance—he typically reads historical fiction. But when chatting with him, his passion for the story’s message that “love is overriding” is palpable. Listen to the full interview to learn more about the Chicago resident.

We discuss his thoughts on a film or television adaptation of Child of the Dust; his perspective on book reviews; how many books he reads a year; his debut book, Backseat, which is also partly derived from a personal event in his life; his experience with Bookstand Publishing; and his upcoming work. For more information, visit Wascoe’s official website.