STEPHEN J. VOSS PRODUCES THE LAUGHTER

ComicPalooza Stephen J Voss

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Robyn Washington, Hollywood Movie Times

It’s hard to forget Dustin Hoffman’s rant in Wag The Dog about movie producers never getting the credit for nurturing a film to life. Fans love the actors and the director gets the applause at film premieres but nothing happens in movie-land without the money people.

Enter Stephen J. Voss, the Executive Producer of Long Term Parking who along with fellow Executive Producers Philip Arthur Anderson, Charles Barnett and Betty Zuspann will be premiering the movie at ComicPalooza on May 23rd in Houston, Texas.

I caught up with Voss for dinner at the original Ninfa’s when he drove up in his racing green Porsche. It’s the kind of car you’d expect a film producer to drive.

RW: You’ve been working on Long Term Parking for several years. When you first read the novel what did you think?

SJV: I enjoyed the plot twists and the low comedy. So many of the scenes immediately brought visuals to mind. I could see some of my friends being victims in it.

RW: Did you want the script to follow the novel exactly or did you expect there would be adaptations?

SJV: I fully anticipated there would have to be changes, to remain true to the feel of the story but still be achievable as an independent film.

RW: Mike Kearby’s novel uses very colorful language. Some of it was toned down in the film. Do you think audiences will get into the spirit of the story or do you think some people won’t get the joke?

SJV: What, there’s only one joke? (We both laughed.) I’m not embarrassed by colorful language, as long as it’s not meant to hurt. The amount of “colorful” language wasn’t over-the-top and didn’t serve as a prop in place of real dialogue.

RW: Many of the cast members and the director will be at the Houston premiere. This is also your hometown. Had you been planning to premiere the movie here all along?

SJV: Being at Comicpalooza is absolutely huge! We’re right where the fans are.

RW: You’ve been the Executive Producer on several of Bright’s films. What brought your partnership together originally?

SJV: I first saw Paul’s film Angora Ranch. I liked what I saw and started following his work. When I heard he needed some help with Abrupt Decision I was in a place to come aboard. We’ve been friends ever since.

RW: Angora Ranch released ten years ago. This is a long friendship.

SJV: I can top that. We were born in the same military hospital in Albuquerque, N.M. I won’t tell you who’s older.

RW: Long Term Parking is premiering as part of a double feature with Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday night. Do you think Long Term Parking will become a cult film like Rocky Horror?

SJV: Oh, I’d really like that! But I suspect the world has become a much more jaded place. I was incredibly shocked the first time I saw Rocky Horror, because I had grown up in a very sheltered, conservative Catholic household. I doubt anyone these days would have the same reaction. Long Term Parking may be too mainstream for a cult following.

RW: We’ve heard rumor that Mike Kearby is working on a sequel to the novel. Any chance you’ll do a movie sequel?

SJV: Definitely depends on the reception for the first one. I won’t rule anything out.

RW: As you know everyone comes in costume to ComicPalooza. Are you looking forward to seeing people dressed up as Boston Nightly or Marlene or Chel at next year’s convention?

SJV: Maybe I can get someone to make me a Boston costume? Or maybe Gallo? And I know some seriously buxom fierce women who would love this. Of course the original cast will be at the premiere this year and nothing’s better than the original.

Voss gestured to the walls of the colorful Original Ninfa’s as we dived into a sizzling plate of fajitas.

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Mike Kearby’s Sci-Fi Gangster Novel Explodes on Screen

ComicPalooza Mike KearbyReprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Eugene Stryker, Hollywood Movie Times

Mike Kearby’s beloved sci-fi/noir/gangster comedic novel that defies and parodies half a dozen genres is now breaking down the box office barriers with the release of the Long Term Parking feature film May 23rd at the comic-con convention in Houston, Texas.

In today’s cinema, a world premiere in Hollywood is passé especially when the true fans are the 35,000 cosplayers vying for seats in the ComicPalooza Theater at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

We reached Kearby at his Texas ranch by phone to ask about the film’s premiere and how the quirky novel came about in the first place.

ES: You’ve written many novels, but none in this genre. What inspired the story of Long Term Parking?

MK: The story has its background in listening to my Granddad cursing at the neighbor’s dog for digging in his garden. He was too gentle of a man to physically hurt the dog, but always had more than a few “Goddamn Dog” to mumble as he re-staked his tomatoes. Later as an adult, I always chuckled while remembering these comedic encounters between man and beast. Thus was born the preface to Long Term Parking.

ES: How much is Boston Nightly like you? How do you get into the head of your characters when you’re writing?

MK: Boston definitely contains a mixture of my real and my imagined personality. I find this to be a common trait among those who tell stories. The heroic imagined part of one’s personality when fused with the real and flawed part of one’s personality makes the fictionalized character easy to cheer for.

ES: Long Term Parking has quite a following. Do you think the movie version will inspire more people to read your original novel?

MK: The ingredients are all there. The cast brings the characters to life just as I imagined. I hope the movie fans want to extend their viewing pleasure by reading the book.

ES: Most films adapted from books usually don’t do the original work justice. How does this movie compare?

MK: The film and the novel match up perfectly in showing Boston as that flawed character caught in the eternal struggle in doing what is right and doing what feels right.

ES: The story takes a lot of very unexpected turns. When you started writing did you know where the story was going or did the characters take you in directions you didn’t expect?

MK: My novels always seem to write themselves after the first few pages. It was no different with Boston who seemed to evolve into favorites from my childhood; a combination of Groucho Marx and The Three Stooges.

ES: Any truth to the rumor a sequel for Boston Nightly is in the works?

MK: Boston’s latest – Beware of Dog – is well underway. Our hero is pitted against a career criminal who only speaks in third person, a defrocked priest, and a female warden whose most prominent feature is the appearance of being struck in the back by two heat seeking missile’s. And of course, Marlene.

ES: The screenplay adaptation for Long Term Parking was written by you and the director. Is this your first time working with another writer? How was the experience of co-writing?

MK: This was my first foray into screenwriting, and Paul Bright was kind and patient enough to help guide me down the trail. I enjoyed working with Paul and can’t imagine a better first writing partner.

ES: What should audiences expect when they see the movie Saturday night at ComicPalooza?

MK: It can only truly be enjoyed when accompanied by raucous, belly laughter, which 4 out of 5 doctors agree is very healthy for you.

ES: People are already saying the film will become a cult classic. Can you imagine people dressing up as Boston Nightly at next year’s ComicPalooza?

MK: I think that would be the greatest accolade a writer could receive.

Dean Reading Saddles Up to Another Comedy

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times
by George WozniakComicPalooza Dean Reading

Stunt man, director, actor and cowboy Dean Reading rode into town – literally on a white horse – to talk with us about making the movie Long Term Parking which premieres May 23rd at the ComicPalooza Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center. I caught up with Reading at Chisholm Trail, the local BBQ joint in Lockhart, Texas that actually has a railing for tying up his horse.

GW: You frequently play cowboy roles. In the original Long Term Parking novel your character Carlucci isn’t a cowboy.

DR: No, he’s not. And I wasn’t planning to play him as a cowboy, but that’s what the director (Paul Bright) wanted, complete with the hat and bandana.

GW: The movie takes place in Fort Worth. But your name sounds like an Italian mobster.

DR: Well I guess now he’s an Italian Cowboy mobster. Carlucci is a totally disreputable character. He’s a business man, but wow, what a business.

GW: As the guy who runs the Long Term Parking Lot he probably sees a lot of parked cars.

DR: And dead bodies.

GW: It’s quite a racket.

DR: The script was irreverent you bet – but also very different from most things I’ve worked on, and that makes it all the more enjoyable as an an actor.

GW: How did you get involved in the film?

DR: I’ve known Paul for many years – I first met him shortly after I moved to the Lockhart area after living in Grapevine, Texas for 15 years. I went to an audition for a play at the Baker Theater. We’d run into each other at the grocery store every so often. He asked me to do a video read for the film.

GW: A lot of auditions are done by video now.

DR: I was able to do it at the saloon on my ranch. I literally dismounted my horse, tied him up at the hitching post in front of the saloon and walked in to do the audition shot by my neighbor Donnie Barkmeyer (a cinematographer and rodeo photographer.)

GW: You filmed in Smithville, about an hour from your ranch. How was the shoot?

DR: I wish all the shoots I worked on were as much fun. The other actors were fantastic – I worked with Tony (Bottorff), David (Young), Gary (Mahmoud), and Natasha (Straley). It was a really enjoyable experience. I’ve worked with many actors in the past, both as an actor, and also as a crew member. I must say working with these individuals was a highlight.

GW: We’ll be seeing you on the silver screen at the premiere in downtown Houston May 23rd. Are you planning to ride to the convention center on horseback?

DR: In Houston traffic? Are you kidding? I have more respect for my horse than subjecting her to that.

Tony Bottorff Riding High on Long Term Parking

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times
ComicPalooza Tony Bottorff
by Robyn Washington

Tony Bottorff made a noticeable entrance the other day when he rode into the parking lot on his 2015 Harley Sportster and tossed the keys to the valet. A risky move to trust that much horsepower to a teenager in a red vest. Needless to say, they didn’t attempt to move it and the bike sat in full view of the entrance to Abacus, our Dallas dinner spot on McKinney Avenue.

Bottorff’s newest comedy, Long Term Parking, is quite a “tail wagger.” We sat down to discuss the movie and his career.

RW: The role you play in this film is a departure from your other roles in film. Did you need to do anything to prepare to play this part?

TB: I wish I could say I did, but I let this one develop organically. I had Boston worked up fairly solid but knew from past experience that Paul Bright (film director) knows what he wants, so the first day of shooting kind of set the tone for Boston. Had I known it was going to be 38 degrees with a 30 MPH wind during my make out scene with Lisa (Sosa), I would have practiced bumping uglies in a meat locker with an industrial fan blowing on me.

RW: That’s quite a visual. Did anything go wrong during filming?

TB: Oh yeah. The weather would be hot one day and butt ass freezing the next. I think we all got sick before it was done. The one I remember was shooting with Gary Mahmoud in his office. I had to drink shots of Jameson, and trust me, I’m a cheap date when it comes to drinking. I’m asking Paul if we have some apple juice or something and he says, “I’ve got a case of Jameson, enjoy.” So I’m getting toasted before lunch, they’re fogging the office with this fog machine so thick it looks like the steam room at the YMCA, and Gary Mahmoud is killing me with his improv. I can’t keep a straight face to save me. I’ll tell you something, this was one of those film shoots where there was as much comedy between takes as there was during the shot.

RW: Can I spill the beans and tell people your character is a dog?

TB: I’m not a dog.

RW: Okay, partly a dog.

TB: Boston Nightly is a gumshoe bounty hunter who’s a true ‘guy’s guy’. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff and takes things in stride, loves his Jameson, neat, and his women hot. Nothing gets him worked up, not even looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel. He’s got a fun sense of humor, even when the jokes on him, which given his dog tail, is most of the time in this film.

RW: So you do admit your character has a dog tail.

TB: And teeth.

RW: This movie is very irreverent. What was your first thought when you read the script?

TB: My first thought? Well, I get an email from Paul saying he’s doing a film and I’d be PERFECT for the role of Boston. So I can’t wait to read it, right? I start reading and I’m killed on page three. I’m like ‘what the hell?’ I kept reading and was laughing out loud with the dialogue. My second thought, “Hey, I get to have sex in this! Bring it on!”

RW: What was it like to work with the other actors?

TB: It was awesome! This is my third film with Paul, and he never fails to assemble a great group of actors. Lisa and I had great chemistry! She would crack me up with her delivery even on the third take. And David Young and Gary Lee Mahmoud are comic geniuses. I would bust a gut laughing every day. Seriously, I couldn’t hold it together every time David would say “Do the dingus.”

RW: Should I ask?

TB: You gotta see it. Joel Hudgins, Brandon Gallagher, Dan Murphy, and Mary Farrar are awesome. And Natasha Straley, wow! She’s got perfect comedic timing and I get love scenes with her too? I’m like, thank you Mike Kearby for writing this!

RW: Mike Kearby’s original novel of the same name has a devoted fan club.

TB: I read Mike Kearby’s book several times before the shoot started. The guy writes so expressively. I mean, he’s got more names for bullets than guys have for their Johnson. The book is never boring and his fans have got to be just as awesome! He’s a cool guy. He came to the set when we shot at the bar. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to have a drink with and swap stories.

RW: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of stories to swap.

TB: Oh yeah. But not to print. It was a fun shoot. When you have a great group of actors that enjoy what they do and a director that let’s you have fun exploring the characters, you don’t want it to end.

LISA RENE SOSA OPENS UP ABOUT LONG TERM PARKING COMEDY MOVIE

Reprinted from Movie Times

by Eugene Stryker, Movies Today

We sat down with Lisa Rene Sosa at her favorite lunchspot in San Marcos, Texas overlooking the swimmers and tubers on the river to talk about her upcoming comedy film Long Term Parking.ComicPalooza Lisa Sosa

MT: In your newest movie you took a big departure from the dramatic roles of the past to play an outrageously funny character, Chel Caminetti. Tell us about her.

LRS: Chel’s a real ball buster. A big personality, blunt, irreverent and I use Boston (the film’s hero) for my own gains. Although I have a thing for him I’m not afraid to shoot him a couple of times to figure out what his game is. I like to think that Chel is the heart of Long Term Parking.

MT: You do shoot him, more than a couple times. But somehow he keeps coming back for more. What was it like to work with Tony Bottorff, who plays Boston Nightly in the film?

LRS: I LOVED working with Tony! From the very first day when I met him I knew we were going to get along great. Tony was easy going, open and funny — great things for an actress who also needs to kiss her leading man after just meeting him. I also loved working with everyone else, Joel Lane Hudgins, David Young, the entire cast. It was wonderful to see how everyone’s character evolved from what I read in the script to the actual actor performances.

MT: We got a sneak peak of the film at Movies Today, and it’s terrific! The director, Paul Bright, was right on target with the casting.

LRS: I don’t often audition or portray characters like Chel, and it was a real privilege to be cast as someone who’s her own woman AND a sexpot too. The script was funny, and some of my lines are my favorite from the films I’ve been in so far. I couldn’t wait to see how it would all come together. The more irreverent the better!

MT: Mike Kearby’s novel that was adapted for film has got a devoted following, I think probably because it’s so irreverent.

LRS: I am so looking forward to meeting the fans of Mike’s book. It’s great when there’s such a cult following with people who know the characters just as well as the actors do.

MT: What was it like to shoot the movie?

LRS: So we filmed over two weeks in December. Being in Texas our falls are pretty mild. Well, the first week was so hot. I mean it felt like summer really. But I thought at least we’re not freezing. Well, I spoke way too soon. That second week of filming felt like we were up north. I’ll never forget my last day of filming when we were at the storage facility. I was wearing this beautiful mink coat that Mary (Farrar) let me borrow and when Paul yelled “action” I’d take it off real quick, throw it to Mary, and film the scene.

MT: You’re kidding? You filmed those scenes wearing a skimpy blouse during a Blue Norther?

LRS: Paul would yell “cut” and I’d put the coat back on, and we’d all jump into the car to warm up before we had to get out and film again. We all took our turns getting sick. Within those two weeks I got sick, Tony got sick, so did Paul and Patrick (Henderson – sound recordist). Not the easiest thing to work when you’re sick AND have to do it when the weather wasn’t great. But we all soldiered on and finished our movie.

MT: Watching the film I guessed you were all joking around a lot. You had to be for you to play the part so naturally.

LRS: I needed to be comfortable being a loud personality, and showing off my body more than I’m used to. I let “Chel” lead me throughout filming, but I definitely took advantage of wearing fitted clothes. The longer I was on set the more I felt comfortable with both aspects of my character.

MT: Are you familiar with the song “June is Bustin’ Out All Over?” Your costume fit, ahem, very well. It sounds like a great shoot.

LRS:
Being on set for this film was amazing. Paul and Tony were so inviting which makes any working situation a pleasure to be a part of. I hated leaving set at the end of each day, and couldn’t wait to get to work the next day. That’s when you know you love what you’re doing.

MT: And we love what you’re doing, too.

Long Term Parking premieres at Houston’s ComicPalooza on Saturday, May 23rd at 8:00pm.