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Interview with Ash Avildsen on What Now?

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As a young adult, the choices of life can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to find your place in the world.  That feeling of loneness and ambiguity is compounded in a large city where more focus is based on how you look or how much you make versus getting to know the person. By the time you are 30, many adults are fed up, frustrated while scratching their heads wanting to know, what now?  I sat down with actor, writer, and director Ash Avildsen for nine questions on his latest project, What Now.

CC: What is the most difficult part about writing, directing and producing your first full length feature film?
Ash: It is a lot to take in all at once.  I mean it is a great way to expedite the process, but all the work falls on you. I learned so much about how to get all the details done.

CC:  This movie has some great lines. How much of this story is about your real life?
Ash:  A lot of it comes from real life conversations. (I ask about the devil’s juice and hot wings lines in the movie).
I just thought the “drink my devil’s juice” was funny.  The other came from a brand of Peppermint Soap that when women use it, they get all tingly down there.  I thought the same principle would apply if a man ate some hot wings before a date.

CC:  Is the title a play on words?  For example, we are now in our 30’s, we have crappy jobs –what do we do now?  Or does it imply that so much has gone wrong, what else can happen now?
Ash: The story is about three everyday guys just trying to figure it out.  There is the inner dialogue that is running in your head, and although we sometimes don’t speak them out loud, we are constantly thinking, what now?  There are several scenes in the movie where so much is happening concurrently with the characters, which it is asked aloud, “what now?”

These guys are trying hard to get it all to come together, the relationships, their careers as well as their lives. They are willing to do just about what it takes to move things forward.

CC:  Okay here is my tough question; are you worried that you are feeding the racial stereotypes of 30 something white males who will do anything to get ahead?
Ash: (Burst into laughter).  Wow!  That is a good question.  No one had ever asked me that before. (Chuckles some more). Racial stereotypes of white men?  (Pauses to consider his answer).  I think this situation can apply to a lot of men in Los Angeles. People are so quick to judge you based on your financial status.  It happens more than you know.  The movie focuses on how some people can use social sites to date and meet new people without the snap judgements.  I mean we are all so busy and it is hard to get into the stream.

CC:  So here is my personal question.  After making this movie, have you started dating more, or rather are more sought after?
Ash: I started dating someone before I started the movie and am still dating her. I mean, it was hard considering the long hours, the editing, and all the work that went into this project, but yeah…she’s great.

CC:  This is a bit of a switch from your music background, but I see you brought some of your music influence into the movie, with Bizzy Bone and Ice T.
Ash:  Yeah, Ice-T read the script and he wanted to be a part of the movie.  He was a real cool on the set, especially at his level. He was rapping live on the set and we worked it into the movie.

CC:  What made you decide to go with Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs in Harmony a leading role?
Ash: I have known Bizzy for a long time.  He was signed to my label Sumerian Records.  There is another side to him that is funny that few people get to see. I enjoyed showcasing that side of him.

CC:  What do you want viewers to come away with after seeing your movie, I mean what is your dominant message.
Ash: Don’t take yourself so seriously and be open minded.  The materialistic things don’t really matter. Living in LA is a double edged sword, so you don’t really get to meet genuine people.  I try to show what happens when you do give someone a chance and let them in.

CC:  What is your message to young artist?
Ash: Believe in yourself, don’t wait around to be discovered.  The real struggle begins when you are signed.  I tell my artist all the time that it is a marathon and not a sprint.  This business is full of one hit wonders, but you can’t wait for the one big song.

CC:  You are working on a follow up movie and a new app as well, right?
Ash: Yeah.  I am working on a rock drama, The Music’s Over, which will feature a fictional young band that gets signed.  I am going to go through all of it, the ego war and real life scenarios. As for the app, I think it is going to be a great way for fans and artist to connect.  In the music industry, we never contracted our own software developers that would support streaming music.  I believe this new app will do just that.

Watch the movie today on ITunes.

Indie and I Love It

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It is every author’s dream to get THAT lucrative book deal and an agent who never sleeps. Along with that book deal comes the media blitz, the tours, and resources you cannot imagine—all working for you. When you hit that point, you know you have arrived.

Thursdays_in_Savanna_Cover_for_KindleI am cool with a grandiose arrival, but damn, the journey that I am taking right now, I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I want all of those things I mentioned before, but I want those things when I no longer need the money. You see, with those things, you have to split every dime you make. Yes, that agent who never sleeps wants her share. The publisher wants their share. The media consultant wants their share, and selling a million books becomes necessary to pay all of those people. You no longer care if what you have written is formulaic or if it is even good. You just want to stay on top.

I am an indie author and I started from the bottom.

I am still kind of there, but it’s cool, and let me tell you why.

I have made a name for myself by the sheer sweat of my brow. I tell the stories I want to tell and I tell them the way my heart says they should flow. I have hired editors who understand my voice and my storytelling style. I hired a cover designer to evoke a certain feel on the covers that tell the reader, when your turn the page, you will understand those people on the jacket.

Each and every word in the story is carefully selected.

Each funny line is taken from my soul.

Each chapter moves your forward in the characters journey, taking you along with them until the last word.

When the reader is done, it is a story that has touched them. Some may feel adamantly opposed to the heroine and believe her to be stupid. But a woman who has been in her shoes, understands. Others may view the hero as a man on a mission. A man they want to come into their lives. Yet in the end, the story has stayed with them.

Every copy that I sell moves me one step closer.

Each review I earn touched one more reader.

I am not there yet, but I am proud of my journey.

In 54 Days, I sat at #2 on the Amazon top 100. A week later I fell to #3 seated behind a New York Times bestselling author contracted to Harlequin. I am still sitting in the top 100 with the same number of reviews.

For an indie author, that is pretty darn good. One hundred reviews in 54 days? I am okay with that. I am an indie author and I am proud.

I am working my dream job. Come with me on the journey and read my words.

Thursday in Savannah, available on Amazon.com and online retailers.