DERRICK Interview with Heroes Haven Creator Mario Simone

May 15, 2016

MarioEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Mario Simone who founded Gotham City Films in 2009, where he has written and directed films with A-list talent such as Jessica Biel, Slash, Tony Hawk and Hilary Duff. Simone’s original comic book, Heroes Haven, was published by Gotham City Films and is now available for purchase.

D is for Dream: What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved? 

I have vast dreams and big vision which include running a full service entertainment company, and building a publishing division that can help other independent artists achieve their unique voice. I hope for Heroes Haven to reach audiences worldwide and inspire them with the poetry and passion of its character’s journey.

E is for Education: What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I studied intensely at Jesuit schools, Fordham Prep and Fairfield University, where I ventured deep into philosophy and art/film making. And in my world travels, I studied many cultures and intriguing philosophy’s that pushed my artistic voice to great depths.

I was able to pull from these experiences, and it helped me create Heroes Haven, and in my daily life I’m able to continue my philosophical quest through my writing and other art forms.

R is for Resources: What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

My resolve and willingness to bring my vision to fruition; my courage to take the risks to overcome fears and rejection. The fact that I have built my own entertainment/production company and have the ability and knowledge to now expand that into a full “small-press” publishing company as well.

R is for Ready: When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

Ever since I was a kid, I realized that I loved the arts and storytelling. I saw the world as paintings and wanted to experience life so I would have a better story to tell. I don’t know if we are ever really ready for what we are doing in any moment, but there are moments in life where we take the courage to jump into the abyss and face your fate.

I is for Individual: Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

I always enjoyed the stylistic flair of Frank Miller’s interpretation of Batman; or director, Christopher Nolen and his translocation of the story to the film, “The Dark Night”; or even the late actor, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, where he pushed so far outside the normal constants of acting to create such a profound character.

C is for Challenges: What challenges have you had to overcome?

I arrived in LA with a backpack and $200 in my pocket and built a name for myself in the entertainment business as an author, producer, actor and director. Challenges were many along the way, and rejection and stumbles were a daily ritual. Perseverance and courage pushed me to achieve my vision.

K is for Keys: What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Never give up – but even more importantly, be true to yourself, be honest with your work and your art.

Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?

Use your fears as a guide to see the path that will challenge you the most, and help you to live the life of your dreams.

Connect with Mario Simone on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Heroes Haven is now available on the official website and for pre-order on Amazon.

Words Of Encouragement For Filmmakers

April 5, 2012
by Jillian Bullock
Anyone who is involved in the film industry knows how difficult it is to get started in this business and to achieve any level of success. So, when you have the notion in your mind that making movies or being a part of a film crew is your dream, your passion, and nothing else in the world will make you happy, then I say follow your dream no matter what.

To give up on a dream just because it’s hard, it’s unfair, it’s not stable, it involves luck, think of the alternative – living a life or working a job that doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled.

To begin toward making your dream a reality, you must do detail planning. Know what you want to do as a filmmaker, be it a director, writer, producer, director of photography, etc. Know that you will have to make sacrifices in your personal life.

You will have to eat, sleep and drink the art of filmmaking as well as learn the business side. Moving to Los Angeles or Hollywood and networking may also be a move you will have to make to succeed.

You may want to get an internship on a movie set or in a film production office. Majoring in film or screenwriting while in college may be more to your liking. But no matter what you decide you know in your heart how important becoming a filmmaker is to you and even if no one else believes in you, and that includes your family and friends, you must have the courage to step out in faith and live your life on your terms.

Visit Jillian Bullock for more information.

WENDY Workshop: 5 Ways To Make Your Dream Come True In The Wink Of An Eye

November 17, 2011

Recently I attended the Tasha Smith Actor’s Workshop where I was able to meet Wendy McKenzie who is the CEO of In The Wink Of An Eye. Wendy is  6’1 and when you first meet her it presents an undeniably commanding presence.

Wendy McKenzie is a highly sought after Casting Director, Acting Coach and Motivational Speaker. Wendy McKenzie has been a Casting Director for 25 years, Acting Coach for 7 years and Motivational Speaker for 3 years.

Wendy’s home is in New Jersey but she also teaches in New York, Florida, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Texas. In the near future Wendy will be touring and teaching in Canada with Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd as they will instruct others on the business side of the industry and how to move forward in the right direction.

Wendy was modeling in NY and her casting director at the time  needed help in finding people for roles and she learned how to do it, since they were paying the Casting Director to find people. The pivotal point in Wendy’s  career came when she was hired as Casting Director for Fox Searchlights Pictures, “Notorious”, the biopic of rapper, Christopher Wallace.  While working on “Notorious”, Wendy was hired to provide (Limited) services for the 2010 Academy Award Nominated, “The Blind Side”.

Wendy has worked with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Mariah  Carey, Britney Spears, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and numerous others. Wendy was also given the opportunity to branch off and cast for MTV (Promos) such as  “Yo Momma”, and “Sucker Free Sunday”.

WENDY uses her name to give you 5 Ways To Make Your Dreams Come  True In The Wink Of An Eye.

W is for Work. In order to find work in this business the first  step is to develop a bio with your resume and headshot. Research the Yellow
Pages or Google for resources and talent in your area that provide photography  and resume services.

E is for Employed. If you want to be a star, stars are in the sky  but if you want to be a working actor make sure you learn how to be technically sound. The ones who get the jobs are the ones who usually work the hardest.

N is for Network. I met Wendy at TSAW and at events like this you  meet seasoned and up and coming actors. Wendy explained to everyone how important it is to learn from each other what has and hasn’t worked for you in  the business. Also to connect on what other training and events they can attend throughout the year to help them become better.

D is for Direction. Wendy made sure to make it clear over and over  again how critical it is to know what type of actor you want to be so that you move in the right direction. If you are auditioning for a film make sure your  monologue is not one for a Broadway show.

Y is for Youth. All parents learn from Wendy about the importance  of adults knowing what children do during auditions so that they can help them prepare at home. Practice will build confidence so they won’t be nervous when  it’s show time.

During each WENDY Workshop she brings parents out of the crowd  to perform on the spot so they can see firsthand how difficult it can be for  their children. When I was pulled on stage and asked to do a rap I did a freesytle  with these original words,

“I came here  today with my wife named Kim

A few years  ago my weight was more slim

I grew up a  few hours from Indy

The best  Casting Director name is Wendy”

WENDY is not just the best she is here to teach you how to Work so  you will be Employed. Network with the right Direction and always reach back to help our Youth. The next WENDY Workshop for youth will be Saturday March 17th, 2012 in Atlanta, GA.

Network with Wendy McKenzie:

In The Wink Of An Eye Website



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