WCW: Che Grayson: Storyteller

I said it a few times and I’ll say it again: I am so grateful to have found the Geek Girl Brunch Community. I have met so many amazing women through it and wonderful friends. 

 Che Grayson is one of the women I met along the way!

Che is a Brooklyn based filmmaker, writer and TED speaker from Long Island, New York. Che grew up with her mothers, little brother; spending most of her time watching black-and-white films and 80s horror flicks.  Her award-winning films have been shown internationally and her writing has been featured in Teen Vogue and Image Comics.

Photo credit: Chegrayson.com

Photo credit: Chegrayson.com

I had the opportunity to connect with Che and discuss her recent project Magic Hour! A new online horror/sci fi story that puts LGBTQ people and people of color as leads!  

For the pilot episode, titled “Soul-Search,” model, activist, and Pose actor Indya Moore stars as a modern Frankenstein looking for a soul and purpose in life.

Che recently debuted the trailer for episode one as the Kickstarter for episode 2 launched in July:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chegrayson/magic-hours-pilot-episode-starring-indya-moore 

Written/Directed by Che Grayson Starring & Executive Produced by Indya Moore Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2Nr3dKZ

O.C.O: Why do you consider yourself a “nerd activist"? 

C.G: I thought of the term as a way to combine my greatest passions: fandoms and social justice. I feel like they're not mutually exclusive and a some of the greatest stories (i.e. X-men, Black Panther and Steven Universe) have an amazing way of highlighting the experiences of marginalized communities and those who have felt "bothered." All of these heroes and fictional character believe in justice so in a way a nerd or geek is also someone aligned with that same belief in justice and equality (at least the compassionate ones)  

O.C.O: Why is Dumbledore your favorite wizard based on your 2016 Ted Talk?

C.G: I think Dumbledore is one of the most thoughtfully complex characters in children's literature. He galvanized an entire generation of witches and wizards and ultimately led to the defeat of one of the most nefarious characters in history. And it's not just what he does that I love and respect so much, it's what he says. J.K. Rowling gave him some of the dopest lines in seven books. Constantly dropping knowledge and truth when Harry needed it most and I honestly needed it too as a reader. Honestly what's not to love about Dumbledore? 

O.C.O: What’s harder: Getting started or being able to keep going?

C.G: I love getting started on things. I have new ideas in my mind all the time, when I'm walking the dog or when I'm trying to sleep. But by far, the hardest thing to do is to keep going. Sometimes finishing something can seem nearly impossible and the only way to keep going is just to keep going. It sounds weird but it's true. As a storyteller I've realized that the only way for me to be able to call myself such is if I keep writing and directing and telling stories. But I have to keep telling myself, I can't really call myself a writer if all my stories are stuck in my head and not on the page and that's one of the things that keeps me going.

O.C.O: Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?

C.G: I started making films in college. So I never really saw it as a hobby it felt more like a calling the moment I finished my first script. It's why I went to film school because I felt it was so much more than just a passion or hobby of mine but it was a destiny I had to work toward. The hardest part has been making a living of it after film school. I'm still working on that part but I get closer every day and with every project that I finish. 

O.C.O: When inspiration is waning, when do you feel creatively sapped, what do you do, how do you overcome it?

C.G: When things get hard I always search for inspiration, whether it's making a playlist on Spotify, a mood board on Pinterest or just having a writing session with a friend to keep me going. I also just take my writing one-day at a time. I make myself write two pages a day even when it's 10 at night and everyone is sleeping. That's actually the best time for me to get writing done. And sometimes when I'm working on a film I just need to watch a good more or when I'm writing my novel I just need to pick up a good book to remind me that what I'm striving for is possible.

O.C.O: What’s your superpower or spirit animal?

C.G: For my super power I would want to be just like Jean Grey she is both the strongest and most compassionate of superheroes and I've always been fascinated by the true power of the mind. 

O.C.O: What advice would you give aspiring artists who want to use their platform as a way to resist and give back during these weird times?

C.G: I think is this digital age it's more important than ever to stand up for yourself and for others who are on the right side of history. Art can be a cathartic and empowering way to tackle real-life issues on a personal, national and even global scale. If you feel you have a story to tell, tell it. Make a kickstarter, start a blog, get the word out. There is an audience for you who is hungry for the stories you're bursting to tell. 

Support Magic Hour y’all: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chegrayson/magic-hours-pilot-episode-starring-indya-moore the Kickstarter campaign ends in six days! 

Artwork by  Sashko Danylenko

Artwork by Sashko Danylenko

You can follow Che on Instagram and Twitter as well as Magic Hour TV on Instagram!

xo

Kos

 

Jared Rinaldi–the eclectic artist

Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.-Colin Wright

Balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; in the long run, it actually increases productivity and success.  I am striving to have more balance despite having 100 ideas I want executed in my head. We all have been there, so many creative projects can make taking a "break" not easy to do. 

It made me think and wonder the following:

HOW DO CREATIVE FOLKS STRIVE FOR BALANCE? 

I don’t have the answer to that but I want to use the blog as a platform for folks to read different ways many people do on top of my WCW posts.

I had the opportunity to interview my friend Jared Rinaldi a few weeks ago.  Jared is a triple threat  as a fantasy writer, actor, and musician. Similar to a few creatives that we know that carry many hats!

His first book THE UNDEAD KING, caught my attention as it has elements of post-apocalyptic politics seen in fantasy and zombie horror.  Check out the blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic future, where humankind has descended back into the dark ages, a young swordsman and his small band of allies must stand against the Undead King and his army of ravenous zombies.

There is a war brewing in the Green Lands. East versus west, might versus mind, brother versus brother…

While this battle over power and resources consumes the land, the Undead King is clandestinely marching north. At his command are an army of ravenous corpses, their appetite for living flesh insatiable. In the king’s possession is a sceptre of great power, forged in white fire by the monks of Jai Lin…

Mercer Crane is a young wanderer who has lost everything and means to make a name for himself in the war. He has come into possession of a sword, its edges lined with dark matter. This blade is special, as is the man who wields it, for together, they are the only thing that can stop… THE UNDEAD KING.

Being a writer myself that is not easy to combine (kudos Jared! It is a true mix of GoT and The Walking Dead as you described it!)

Peep our Q & A:

O.C.O: Tell us more about your new book you are working on called Sprocket Knights. How is it different from THE UNDEAD KING?

J.R: Sprocket Knights is actually the title of an entire five book series, of which the Undead King was book one, until I made some serious revisions and then changed the title to "The Sword of Jai Lin." The stories follow the same trajectory; the main difference between the two books is in the details.

O.C.O: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

J.R: Currently, I'm working on a series of five books that are all interconnected. I'm trying to build an entire world with its own history. But I also write screenplays and short stories which have nothing to do with Sprocket Knights at all, and look forward to writing books not in that world.

O.C.O: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

J.R: I'd have to say a sort of large jungle cat, like a tiger or leopard. Writing is a very solitary craft and requires me to be in full control, at the top of the food-chain if you will. Oftentimes I'm stalking the story relentlessly until I can pounce and tear it to shreds. I have a very violent process.

O.C.O: What Does Your Band Name “Kitari” Mean?

J.R:  Kitari actually didn't mean anything when I came up with the name. We were calling ourselves Annakari for a few days, which is a Japanese demon, but then I blanked on the name when a hotshot casting director asked me my band's name and I just blurted out "Kitari." We stuck with it. We came to find out that "Kitari" actually translates to guitar in Slovenian, so that's pretty accurate.

O.C.O: Describe Kitari's sound?

J.R: Kitari's sound is, of course, grounded in rock music with traditional rock instrumentation, but my ultimate focus has always been on writing the best songs I can. To me, that means that my songs should have compelling and introspective lyrics, memorable hooks and effective movement throughout the different parts. I think it gives our music and live performance an emotional weight that not a lot of other bands have. I count myself fortunate to play with some really amazing players, with backgrounds in genres as varied as jazz, punk, classical, hardcore and drum n' bass. Their styles certainly influence how the songs are performed. But as far as tying up our sound in a neat little bow? I'd say we're a psychedelic indie-rock band.

O.C.O: Do you write out your lyrics? Do you ever change a song’s lyrics in live sets?

J.R:  Yes, I wrote about 90% of the lyrics, with our former guitarist having written the remainder. And yes, I forget lyrics live a lot. I've gotten quite good at freestyling new lyrics though.

O.C.O: What creative individual would you have lunch with (can be dead or alive). Where would you go, what would you ask?

J.R: Hmmm it would be a toss-up between Jimi Hendrix and Ernest Hemingway. It would have to be a boozey lunch somewhere, and I'd ask them both basically the same thing: where else is there to go with art? What areas need to be explored today? What adventures need to be taken?

O.C.O: What embarrassing songs might I find on your IPhone now?

J.R: Oh god, let me look. There's definitely some bad ones on here. How's Kevin Lyttle, "Turn Me On?" Oh, the Scissor Sisters. That's funny.

O.C.O: What advice would you give someone when balancing different creative endeavors?

J.R: ·  In finding balance, I really try to structure my day. It may sound intuitive and like a "no duh" kind of concept, but you'd be surprised with how many people just let the day drive them from task to task. You need to drive the day. I'm not saying to just sit in your little hermit's cave away from the world or to fight tooth and nail against any sort of change. You should still remain flexible and capable of being influenced and inspired by everything around you.

But to intentionally structure your day, to work at accomplishing tasks as opposed to just getting through them, is a way to achieve balance. Once I'm done with something, once I've accomplished it, I can move on to the next task. Some tasks take longer than others - like writing a book, for instance - so I set smaller goals for myself and when I accomplish them, I feel like I can shift my attention over to another project. Time also forces me to find balance. There are only so many minutes in a day, after all.

O.C.O: Anything you would like share? (This where you direct folks to social media pages for the band and links to your books)

J.R:  All my band's material, including music, videos and pics can be found at kitaritheband.com. A quick search on Amazon of "Jared Rinaldi" will turn up the books I've written. Kitari has some a shows coming up: Saturday August 5th at Mercury Lounge and Thursday August 24th at Bar Matchless.

Follow Kitari on FB friend’s: https://www.facebook.com/kitaritheband

Hope everyone is finding their own balance while creating something rad this summer :)

xo

Kos