BACKSTAGE with Traci Dinwiddie

5 07 2012

Today’s guest on CSReview is a Hollywood science fiction actress and a woman of many talents with an amazing professional record – Traci Dinwiddie

CS: Welcome to CSReview, Traci. I am truly honored to have you here. You are an award winning actress, now also a screenwriter and a singer. Does wearing many hats wear you out, or, perhaps on the contrary, gives you an extra boost and inspiration to create something new and exciting?

Traci: Thank you so much for your interest in my work! Wear me out? Oh, quite the contrary! I’m a multi-hat wearing kind of woman.  It’s extraordinary to live a rich, full life.  Being busy doing what I love titillates me.

CS: From one sci fi fan to another – Han Solo rocks! And so do Star Wars. I really do not know what we’d do without them… do you imagine your life could turn out differently if not your early exposure to science fiction? What are the ultimate lessons of science fiction that you carry with you through life?

Traci: I hear ya.  Love me some Han Solo. The ultimate lesson in sci-fi would be that anything IS possible!

CS: Who is your Yoda, your Grand Master? What would you like to learn that’s missing in your professional career today?

Traci: My Yoda is my yoga. On the simple side, I’d like to learn French.  I’m also really flirting with the idea of going back to college and finishing just because I can and I love to learn.  The only real thing missing in my career today is a series regular role in a new badass sci-fi TV series! Come on, Universe! Bring it!

CS: You know what they say…  if you want something really badly, Universe will move with you to deliver. If you’re determined, things will happen! What is most special and most hard thing to do when acting in a science fiction film? Does it differ from anything else you’ve done on screen?

Traci: Sci-fi is my heart’s love.  It’s always mind-bending.  I must give a deep bow to the sci-fi fandom.  We are a special breed.  Hardest thing: keeping my eyes open after they were ‘burned out of my skull’ while crying in Bobby Singer’s (played by Jim Beaver) arms in episode 401 of  “Supernatural”.

CS: If you were a Star Trek character, who would you be? Why? I think Star Trek 2009 was absolutely brilliant. Do you want to see another Star Trek sequel, if yes – would you want to be a part of it?

Traci: Loved it, too.  I’m eager to work with J.J. Abrams.  I would have played Spock’s mama, Amanda Greyson, hands down.  Sorry, Winona.  Ya haven’t anything on MY eyebrows! Yes, I would dive into some Star Trek sequel action without hesitation.

CS: You’re on your way to creating a new web series. This is a new medium that continues to win the audience. What are the key components of producing an ultimately great web series?

Traci: I hope I have the ingredients right.  I’m a huge social media participant.  Web Series need quick, exciting story lines to follow, brilliant editing, and unique style.  These are designed for those who’ve busy lives.  I want to leave my audience inspired and eager for more.

CS: How does trying yourself in a new, more technical role of a producer, reflect on your acting?

Traci: It’s empowering to produce films in which I act.  I dig knowing that I’m creating work for myself, and I hope it inspires others to manifest their own desired work. As one of my mentors, Marianne Williamson says, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” While producing and acting does require a bit of a juggle, it’s completely do-able.  When I’m on the set as an actress, I delegate producer responsibilities appropriately, so I can simply focus on my craft.  It takes a good instinct for hiring your team.  I’d like to think I’ve got that instinct.

CS: If you had to go through a Stargate, which planet would you pick for your destination, and what would you find there?

Traci: Ah, yes.  My Stargate would take me to Neptune where the atmosphere is pure water in which one can breathe.  All movement would be lyrical in its effect simply by the fact that the local beings are living in a water world.  It’s a dreamy place with the essence of poetry, light, and dance where a person can restore after working their buns off on Earth.  I’m a bit of a romantic, I admit.

CS: I love alien planets! Well, Traci, thanks for a great sci fi chat! I’m glad you stepped by and I wish you all the best and all the greatest achievements in life and on screen!

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2012. All rights reserved.

Click to watch ANHEDONIA Trailer



28 09 2011


Interview with Monique Yamaguchi, Producer

CS: Welcome to CSReview, Monique. Let’s talk about NYPDM, a web series that you and Nick Rossier have worked on. First of all, what attracted you in the script that you decided to produce the series?

Monique Yamaguchi: I thought the mix of genres would be great to see on screen and was excited when Hal Jordan brought up the prospect of writing the script.

CS: Events in the series take place in New York, a city with a social climate of its own, a very unique and recognizable atmosphere. What would you say was most challenging during the filming and production of the series in terms of modeling the setting for NYPDM and re-creating the feel of the city?

Monique Yamaguchi: We were definitely concerned about re-creating such a well known environment, but as luck would have it, meteorologists in the Los Angeles area announced a few days before us starting principal photography that we would be hit by “The Storm of the Century,” which was a rarity since it generally does not rain in Los Angeles and especially with that kind of intensity or for that length of time. We thought the rain was going to be a setback for production, but it turned out to be quite the contrary if anything-the rain that we met with that first day of shooting became the establishing look for the show.

CS: Talk about a lucky accident… How would you describe the cast and crew of NYPDM and the cooperation on the set?

Monique Yamaguchi: Just amazing. We had to overcome all kinds of obstacles with the weather, but there was never a moment when the cast and the crew did not come together to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable. We truly had an amazing cast. Actress Jamie Bernadette got into a pool towards the end of principal photography that was about thirty degrees, actress Grace Bannon laid down in an abandoned pool in the pouring rain where umbrellas barely provided shelter for the actors standing around her, and leads Janelle Giumarra and Jilon VanOver spent every shoot day in either rain or cold and sometimes both.

NYPDM: Shooting during "The Storm of the Century"

CS: The horror genre, supernatural elements, crime, mystery to solve and an evolving drama…What is essential for putting all these components together into a well paced and engaging product, designed specifically for the web television?

Monique Yamaguchi: This is not possible without a good story. Director Hal Jordan was able to hold on to his vision from pre-production all the way to post-production. Director of Photography, AJ Raitano who incidentally happens to be a transplant out of New York, was then able to take Hal’s script and bring it to life. All in all, Hal did an amazing job of adapting the traditional episodic television structure to the three minute episodic format of the web.

CS: The trailer alone is a testimony of all your collective hard work-I can’t wait to see the first episode! Monique, what appeals to you as producer in making content for web television, this new medium that is becoming quite popular quite quickly?

Monique Yamaguchi: I think it’s filmmakers’ second nature to explore and utilize mediums that become available to them so they can share their stories and ideas with the world, and web television certainly allows that. It’s exciting to work with these up-and-coming directors to see their visions come to life with immediacy as they are able to create original content, and distribute their work shortly thereafter.

NYPDM: Director of Photography AJ Raitano (left), Director Hal Jordan (right)

CS: Speaking of technology, what innovations have been used for NYPDM?

Monique Yamaguchi: Technology has allowed our production to utilize members of our crew that are not based in Los Angeles. Our sound designer Adam Hawk for example is now based in Texas, our titles and graphics designer Anthony Hahn works out of Hawaii and Kyle Walling, our second unit director of photography/camera operator, was out of New York.

CS: Last but not least, what can we expect of NYPDM when the show goes on air?

Monique Yamaguchi: An amazing quality show that delivers every episode that we hope will leave viewers wanting to see a Season Two.

CS: Wonderful! Thank you for sharing NYPDM’s behind-the-scenes story with CSReview.

NYPDM: Lt. Spiller (Natalie Turpin), Grimm (Jilon VanOver) and Det. Andersen (Janelle Giumarra)

Monique Yamaguchi, graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts, produced over three dozens films, shows, web series and music videos.

More about Monique’s work on

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

View NYPDM Official Trailer:

NYPDstarts airing October 11, 2011. Follow the series on their site:

Camilla Stein’s series SPACE SCRAPERS now on Amazon Kindle

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28 07 2011

Pioneer One


While the actual space exploration is being put on hold, nothing should stop humanity from freely going over possibilities and speculating about the unknown. So far, the Universe is endless and who knows what is out there!

Pioneer One takes on the mission of telling a science fiction story with more than a hint of a government scale conspiracy and a spin off into politics.

When a born on Mars human child falls on Earth and finds himself in a world he had never seen, the challenge is to introduce him into a new reality, find a way of communicating with him and protecting him. But first, there’s a question of his identity that someone needs to answer, and quick. Time is pressing on the team of researchers-the space child is terminally ill.

The series is filmed with an obvious eye for quality. Each episode is composed of accurately acted out scenes that forward the story line with each new minute of production so as not to disappoint the web audience, and we are a spoiled folk, used to high pace and quick action. What stands out while watching is how well coordinated cast and the team behind the scenes is. This can only be achieved with a dedication and passion for the craft, and is such a pleasure to be a witness of.

Learn what plays out when watching this exciting web series on Pioneer One TV

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

Watch Episode 1-5


18 06 2011

Ragged Isle

Sound Carries on the Water…

Whoever thinks Maine isn’t haunted, should take their assumption under a serious reconsideration-Ragged Isle has arrived and proves all skeptics wrong.

This new dashing web film project leaves a feel of an unpredictable mystery that slowly unfolds during an average of eight minutes of each episode.

The series draws you in as a young journalist named Vicky Burke accepts a position in a small newspaper nowhere else but on an infamous secluded island that has a rather chilling aura about it.

Odd stuff happens and before she knows it she becomes a participant, being pulled into a murder investigation that makes everyone on the island uncomfortable.

It wouldn’t be too bad, but the pressure is rising as secrets of the past come to surface, and the key that will unlock the truth seems to be kept in the island’s part that’s been off limits. Till now.

For the new column of CSReview, THE HUB, Camilla Stein talked to Barry Dodd, the director of Ragged Isle, and here’s what he had to say.

CS: Welcome to Camilla Stein Review, Barry. Behind every filming project is always a story of how it all began. Let’s talk about your recent ambition, Ragged Isle. How was this project born?

Barry Dodd: Thanks for the interview, Camilla!  Long story short, Ragged Isle was born from a previous project that our company The Entertainment Experiment produced years ago called Criehaven.  It was an entry into a soap opera web video contest sponsored by SoapNet.  Our video was inspired by the classic 60s soap opera Dark Shadows and our idea of what a modern soap that combined elements of the supernatural might be like. It was a blast to do. We made it to the finals but ultimately lost out to a more traditional entry. The basic idea stuck with me (a remote Maine island, murder mystery, spooky atmosphere) over the years, and eventually my wife and creative partner Karen and I decided to revisit the concept as a self produced web series.  We brought in a talented group of writers to help flesh out the concept and together, Ragged Isle was born.

CS: The very first feature of the series that drew me in right away was the music-a very sensual guitar! Three Qs-who, what, why?

Barry Dodd:  Do you mean the first track in the first episode? 

CS: Yes, the opening theme.

Barry Dodd: That’s called Mansions 2 by the band Selbyville.  They have a few of their songs in our series. I love that one and knew the first time I heard it that it was exactly how I wanted Ragged Isle to start. It’s upbeat to begin but slowly becomes darker as it progresses and it just fits perfectly with the transitions from Vicki’s former life to the one she will be living on that lonely island. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a tremendous amount of talented Maine musicians involved in Ragged Isle. Many of them are also actors in our series.  The music adds so much to the overall atmosphere of our show. I’m glad you noticed it. The soundtrack will be available on Entertainment Experiment Records.

CS: The series is shot against an amazing panorama, highlighting Maine’s mysterious aura. Was the choice of location for filming Ragged Isle obvious to you as director?

Barry Dodd:  Certain spots, we knew right away where we wanted to shoot. Others took some real effort to find. We spent a lot of time scouting locations all over Maine to get just the right feel. Then you have to secure permission to shoot there during tourist season! I hope that in the end we give the impression that it’s all on this one island but in truth there are many miles between those exterior scenes. It was a really fun way to explore our home state and see places I had never been to before and definitely one of the highlights of producing season one. I’m looking forward to finding new places to explore and share with our viewers for season 2 and 3 this summer.

CS: Ragged Isle has a wonderful crew. You’ve spoken highly of their collective investment into the making of this series. When doing auditions, what were you looking for as primary-the exact representation of your vision for each particular role, actors’ ability to work together, something in between, or did you have your own custom approach to casting for Ragged Isle?

Barry Dodd:  Thank you! We have such a fantastic ensemble cast and I am so happy to have them on the island with us. There was really no set formula for bringing in actors to the show. Some actors we invited in from our earlier Criehaven project.  Rick Dalton (Sheriff Dalton), Meghan Benton (Vicki Burke), Ian Carlsen (Paul Soucey), Erik Moody (Deputy Dan), and Sebastian Carlsen (Seebass the comic genius) were all a part of that and I knew that I wanted them on board for Ragged Isle.  It was fun to write parts with them in mind. We cast two actors from a traditional audition (full disclosure, we only had 2 show up!)  Others were seasoned actor friends and some first time actors whom we felt would be fun and interesting to work with and were, bless their hearts, willing to commit to our project. They brought a lot to the table too. So far, casting for seasons 2 and 3 has been completely different! We’ve had lots of genuine interest from local actors who want to be a part of this adventure. It’s really nice to have that luxury and I look forward to finding just the right mix of new victims…I mean um…characters to ferry in to the island for chuckles and some lobster in the summer sun. I can assure you-no mysterious deaths this time around.

CS: Describe in one word working on the set with the crew of Ragged Isle.

Barry Dodd: Amazacrazyjoyfullofuntasticallyintensesensational!

CS: Lovely! Speaking of pros and cons of independent film making, how would you define the most challenging aspect of this production?

Barry Dodd:  In a project of this scope and with the limitations we had, each step of the process from writing, on through to exporting the finished product to the web is riddled with challenges. Luckily, most of them are fun challenges. If you don’t in some way enjoy a good challenge then you probably shouldn’t attempt something like this.  Having said that, the ones I lose my patience with the quickest involve rendering times and uploading times. Anything where I am at the mercy of technology and left pacing the room. I’m sure Karen, who is our executive producer, would say that scheduling was a nightmare as we had such a giant cast and so many locations. She’s amazing. I have no idea how she pulled all that off or why she would agree to do it again this summer. I nominate her for video sainthood.

CS: That should be written into the Academy Awards. Now, tell us what the future holds for Ragged Isle. You’ve just begun filming two more seasons. What are your expectations upon completion of the series?

Barry Dodd:  The scripts are being finished right now and we’re still casting at the moment but shooting is right around the corner and I am very excited to get back to work with the actors and watch them dig even deeper into their roles while we reveal all the secrets of the island. My biggest hope is that viewers will stick around to find out how it all ends. Along the way, I hope we can capture our audience’s imagination, deliver some thrills, and maybe even break a few hearts before it’s all over. You know what? Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe another cool thing would be for some really awesome investor to come along and help me buy an island where I can set up a Ragged Isle theme park. You’d come, right? 

CS: You bet! And I have friends in Maine and worldwide who’d love a spooky get away. Thank you for talking to CSReview, Barry. Looking forward to new seasons of Ragged Isle!

Barry Dodd:  Thanks for sharing Ragged Isle with your readers, Camilla. I hope they check us out and get caught up in the mystery.  See you on the island!  

 Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

In the mood for a murder mystery soap with a non-nagging tint?

Check out Ragged Isle! Ten episodes of Season 1 

Watch directly on the site! 

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