“We Want To Make Stuff That You Love Just As Much As Your Kid Does:” A TDQ Q&A With Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

We are really excited about this week’s TDQ Q&A with Tami Stronach. The actress/dancer/singer talks about her family focused entertainment company, Paper Canoe, growing up in the 80s and her role as the Child-like Empress in “The Never Ending Story.” Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Tami Stronach:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Tami Stronach: I was one of those kids who right from the start just wanted to perform. I loved the connection with the audience. It felt like a great thing for me to pour my feelings into something productive. I was also one of those kids who had ‘a lot of feelings.’ So, when you have that combo of sensitive, and also craving the spotlight, you get a performer. Actor, dancer, I really didn’t distinguish. I just knew I wanted to do it.  

TDQ: Who was your favorite musical artist growing up?

TS: When I was little, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel. And Abba. When I got a little older David Bowie, Annie Lenox, Bobby McFerrin. Pink Floyd, U2 and Michael Jackson. Pretty normal 80s kid. 

TDQ: What was your favorite fantasy film growing up?

TS: Not sure if it’s quite fantasy, but I loved ‘Brazil.’ Brilliant–Still resonates today.  

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

TS: “Trust your gut.”

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

TS: “Put on a mini skirt and strut around the office”, but a close second for ‘worst’ would be, “Everyone else thinks about it this way so you should too…”

Tami Stronach

Tami Stronach

TDQ: Who are your influences?

TS: Bold visual choices always get me. I love it when the style of a work tells the viewer as much about what is going on in a story as the content. In film anything by Terri Gilliam– I also loved “Blade Runner.” In art I’ve always been drawn to surrealism, Frida Kahlo and the whimsy and romanticism of Chagall. In high school I read everything by Ursula Le Guin, and books like “The Island of Doctor Moreau”.

TDQ: What is your favorite memory of making “The Never Ending Story?”

TS: My favorite memory is when I came into the studio for the first time and saw the set of the ivory tower. It was so beautiful it just swept me into the story.

TDQ: How did you form your family-focused brand, Paper Canoe Company?

TS: Well, when I had my daughter, I think a shift started happening in how I think about stories. For me, having a little girl brought me back to my own childhood. For kids, a story isn’t just a story. The imagination is literally just as important as reality. There is something amazingly joyful about connecting with an audience that actually wants to bring their full selves to the experience. So we started making stories that families can enjoy—and this is the key for us—together. It’s not like, “Oh, here is something for my kid that I’m going to have to put up with.” We want to make stuff that you love just as much as your kid does. That’s the goal. I’m putting 30 years of acting, dancing, teaching, singing, performing, and telling stories into it. It’s always a lot of work to start your own thing, but in the end, it’s the most fulfilling thing you can do. Our creative team is really talented and motivated, so I’m incredibly excited to see what we can make.   

TDQ: Tell us about your newest project, the folk rock opera album, “Beanstalk Jack”

TS: It’s a really fun thing. Jack and the Beanstalk with a girl meets boy twist. Jack’s this kind of silly country boy singer songwriter. He goes up the beanstalk and steals the heart of Harmony, the giant’s daughter who is a rock star in waiting. So he’s a little bit country. She’s a little bit Rock and Roll (I sing that part). The giant’s a greedy big shot meany, so it just worked out that it is kind of a great story for the moment we’re in. Its ridiculously fun, and the music is classic Americana. We’ve had a lot of great reactions to it as we’ve gotten ready for the release on Saturday. 

TDQ: You’re also performing a live theater version of “Beanstalk Jack” this weekend. What can you tell us about that?

TS: Yes this week we get to finally perform it live. We’ll be adding theatrical elements to the show over time as we get a sense for how the audience engages, but this is the official launch party, so we are really excited to play, and we are doing the show in an incredible venue, National Sawdust in Williamsburg. The whole point is to bring families together, to celebrate through music and let the songs get the imagination going. It’s a great ride. There are some tickets still available for Saturday morning, and it’s going to be a blast, so I’m counting on some of those 80s kids to come out and bring the family. 

Follow Tami on Twitter, and head over to the Paper Canoe website. 

“I Find Happiness In Living Moment To Moment:” A TDQ Q&A With Actress And Writer Sonia Rockwell

Sonia Rockwell

Sonia Rockwell

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with actress and writer Sonia Rockwell. Sonia spoke to us about her role in the new version of “MacGyver,” her recent work in “The Bounce Back” and how great Mike Judge is. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A With Sonia Rockwell:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Sonia Rockwell: Getting paid to play sounded like the best idea in world! Sign me up!

TDQ: Who was your favorite actress growing up?

SR: I absolutely adore Reese Witherspoon! She can be serious, cute, corky, dorky, and just plain adorable! I have really enjoyed watching her career.

TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?

SR: Honestly, any cartoons. I loved cartoons growing up. I didn’t really watch a lot of regular TV as a kid other than cartoons. Then of course…there were “Friends,” the “X-FILES,” and “MacGyver”!!!

SoniaRockwell in the movie Spread.

Sonia Rockwel in the movie Spread with Ashton Kutcher. You may think this movie is about a guy giving out free samples of a tasty new veggie spread at the grocery store but it is not.

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

SR: It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot! Live in the moment! Like children, they don’t worry about yesterday or worry about tomorrow, they just enjoy the present. I find happiness in living moment to moment.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

SR: Yikes! The worst advice, hmmm, I can’t remember…maybe I didn’t take it! Haha

TDQ: Who are your influences?

SR: My Mother is my absolute biggest influence. She’s a walking angel, she has more love in one person to give than I have ever seen. Truly a selfless woman, she was a successful Biochemist, and at one time a flight attendant. She is just a big bundle of love. I admire her so much, if I could be half the woman she is I would be proud.

Sonia Rockwell at The Bounce Back premiere.

Sonia Rockwell at The Bounce Back premiere.

TDQ: Tell us about your work on your latest movie, “The Bounce Back” and upcoming series, “American Crime”.

SR: In “The Bounce Back” I play a Chicago talk show host. Shemar Moore and his love interest battle it out in their opposing views of getting over love on my talk show. We had fun with it, and played a lot with improv. It was a lot of fun and we had a lot of surprises. “American Crime” will be airing soon, unfortunately I can’t say too much about it, other than working with Felicity Huffman was an honor.

TDQ: You’ve also appeared on the reboot of “MacGyver.” What was it like working on an updated version of such an iconic show?

SR: Oh my gosh, it was a dream. I actually remember my parents watching the original series, so I was stoked to get to play on it. My character is from Portugal and I got to speak Portuguese and had a real thick Portuguese accent. It was fun working with George Eads again, we did an episode together on “CSI,” playing totally different characters. We had a blast.

Sonia Rockwell and Snoop Dogg

Sonia Rockwell and close personal friend Snoop Dogg.

TDQ: What other projects are you working on next?

SR: I play Jenny McCarthy on Mike Judge’s new show “History of the World…For Now.” It’s pretty silly, you learn about pop culture in an almost “Saturday Night Live Style.” I love comedy, it’s so much fun, and of course, Mike Judge is a legend!

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

SR: In five years I’m still going to be acting on TV and in film and by then I’ll have the TV show I am currently writing finished. It’s a comedy and that will be in the works to make its debut! I’m so excited, I can’t wait, I love writing. And I’ll definitely have my pilots license in the bag, so then, I’ll go flying!

Check out Sonia’s Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

“Stay Focused And Follow Your Dream Fulfill Your Destiny:” A TDQ Q&A With Inventor and Entrepreneur Linda Grant

Linda Grant

Potty Boss, Inc. boss Linda Grant with a sampling of her invention the Potty Boss: a toilet seat cover for children.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with Linda Grant, inventor of Potty Boss, which parents all over the country have learned is a lifesaver when their little ones have to use the public facilities, and they aren’t all that hygienic. Here is our TDQ Q&A with Linda Grant:

The DailyQuarterly: Who are your influences?

Linda Grant: The people that influence me are successful entrepreneurs, inventors and motivational speakers who have and who continue to follow their dreams and not give up.

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

LG: Follow your dream, believe in yourself, trust your heart and finish the journey.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

LG: Someone told me when things don’t work out, just give up and quit.

The Potty Boss

One look at the Potty Boss will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Well, Linda Grant did think of that.

TDQ: Tell us about Potty Boss

LG: Potty Boss is a one-of its kind potty2go reusable, compact toilet seat cover preventing children from touching toilet seats with their little bottoms where germs, bacteria, fluids and grime could be left behind from previous users.

Potty Boss is: hidden in plain sight, compact in its self-contained portable case, with pinch free protection and hand handles giving children a sense of security.

Potty Boss has snap open, snap close access, build-in bottom bumper guards, can be cleaned with mild soap and water andfits most standard and elongated toilet seats.

Potty Boss gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to continue potty training while on the go with children who have to go.

Potty Boss focuses strictly on helping to minimize the stressful experience for children, parents and caregivers making this transitional experience user friendly when on the go.

TDQ: What sort have feedback,have you gotten about the product?

LG: Positive feedback such as: “Great product,” “Awesome product,” “Need this product for my grandkids,” “Are you going on Shark Tank?”, “Mothers will love you,” “Wish I had this when my kids were young.”

TDQ: What has been the most difficult thing about starting Potty Boss?

LG: Finances and trusting people with my idea before it was patented.

TDQ: What would you say to people who have a new idea for a product that they want to bring to market?

LG: I would tell them it does not matter what your age is or how long you have been in the process with the idea, never quit or give up. Stay focused and follow your dream fulfill your destiny.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself and Potty Boss in five years?

LG: In 5 years I see potty Boss being a global brand, with additional products, songs, cartoon series, books, and many accessories revolutionizing the travel kids potty industry.

Be sure and like the Potty Boss Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

Kids Love Potty Boss

Parent’s and childcaregivers might appreciate having a clean and sanitary toilet seat at a moments notice but, I bet the kids appreciate having a sporting chance at not falling into the toilet and ending up where the poo goes. Maybe I am projecting here.

“I’m Not Going To Hide Something That Is Such A Big Part Of My Everyday Life And Makes Me Who I Am:” A TDQ Q&A With Actress Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte wearing…what is that, a trench coat? Is this from Halloween? Is this a sexy Inspector Gadget costume?

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with Canadian actress Tamara Duarte. Tamara spoke to us about her role in Canadian TV classic Degrassi, her secret love of “Inspector Gadget” and her work on Netflix hit “Longmire.” Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Tamara Duarte:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Tamara Duarte: I was about 10 years old. I wasn’t really thinking about “show business” but more so performing. My older sisters were a part of Portuguese plays growing up and I remembered thinking, “I want to do that!” So a few years later I did my first play in Toronto. I guess the show business side of it came when my older sister Sonia helped me get a commercial agent and drove me around to auditions, meetings etc., but she was attending college at the time so it was short-lived until I was able to drive myself.

TDQ: Who was your favorite actor or actress growing up?

TD: Jim Carrey always made me laugh. I did classes at Second City in Toronto early on and remember walking in and passing his photo everyday. He inspired me to be brave in my work and take chances.

TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?

TD: I’m one of those annoying early bird people. I’d wake up at 5:30 every morning before school and get in some “Inspector Gadget” and “The Magic School Bus.” My favorite show as I got older was “Friends.”

Tamara Duarte

You never know who you’re going to meet in the desert.

TDQ: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

TD: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard

TDQ: What is the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?

TD: That I need to play the “single sexy young actress” card. Act as though I don’t have a family, a husband and a step child? I am young, but I’m not going to hide something that is such a big part of my everyday life and makes me who I am. I’m proud of that.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

TD: Ellen Page inspires me. Not only is she a talented actor but also she is a creator, producing important content. She is a mover and shaker who not only inspires but influences people.

Tatiana Maslany. I love watching her work in “Orphan Black.” We have the same agent and used to attend the same class in Toronto. There are some people that light a fire in you when you see them work. She is one of those people.

TDQ: Tell us about your role in “Badsville”

TD: I was going though a lot in my personal life and Suzy was going though the same life lesson. It was a deep connection. I ran into April Mullen at an event in Hollywood. We got to chatting and she sent me the script that night. I FELL IN LOVE with it and emailed her back immediately after reading it. Within the next few days, I went in and met the team and the rest is history. I’m so proud of April, she was just honored at TIFF this year at the Bricks Women in Film for a film called “Below Her Month.” The majority of the cast were around the same age (the greaser gang) so we hung out a lot and became fast friends. It’s like being at summer camp. Suzy had a very hard shell. She wouldn’t allow herself to be vulnerable. There is a line that Wink says that I chuckle at when hearing it because it related to my life so much at the time:

Sammy: “How are things going with Suzy?”
Wink: “I don’t know little cat. Her walls are built up so high I can’t figure her out.”

That was me for SO LONG. I’m fiercely independent and all Gerald (my husband) wanted to do is love me and I wouldn’t let him.

Tamara Duarte, Jerry O'Connell

Tamara Duarte and close personal friend Jerry O’Connell. Wouldn’t these two make a great Inspector Gadget and Penny? Let’s reboot!

TDQ: You also appeared in “Longmire” on Netflix. How has Netflix changed the way people watch TV versus network television?

TD: Yes I play Mandy that is coming back for season 6. She is Cady Longmire’s assistant at her new law office on the Rez. I think that we are in the golden age of television! I haven’t had cable in 5 years. I watch everything on Apple TV and have all the channels, news, music, shows, movies I want when I want them.

TDQ: What was your experience like working on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” being on such an iconic TV show?

TD: It was such an amazing experience. Playing such a controversial character and pushing social norms on the show really helped me understand why I do what I do. It helped me understand that I can effect, inspire and change lives through art. I owe that to the Degrassi family.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

TD: Having my little ones getting tomatoes from the garden, working on a film that I’m writing right now and publishing a children’s book.

Follow Tamara on Twitter and “LIKE” her Facebook page.

“Do Not Wait Around For People To Make Your Dreams Come True – Go Off And Do It On Your Own:” A TDQ Q&A Filmmaker With Dave Zani

David Zani

David Zani

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with producer/director/writer Dave Zani. Dave spoke to us about the inspiration of growing up in the 1990s, being an amateur archaeologist and learning about show business from “Homicide: Life on the Streets”, “The Wire” and “Law & Order SVU” star Richard Belzer. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Dave Zani:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to get into show business?

Dave Zani: I always loved movies and animation but I think that true moment it clicked for me when I was very young, maybe 4th grade. My parents took me on a family vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. It was the first time I had gone to the Universal theme park and back then, in 1994, they still had a lot of classic rides like the original King Kong ride with a giant animatronic ape! This blew my mind, I remember being stunned by it all. At the gift shop I bought some foam bricks – props. I was fascinated with this concept – fake things that seem real for the purpose of entertainment. That was a light-bulb moment that changed my life forever.

TDQ: What was your favorite sic-fi/horror movie growing up?

DZ: As a kid growing up, “Star Wars” – hands down. I was a kid in the mid 90’s , a dark time for Star Wars fans. It was in between “Jedi” and Episode 1, the stores literally had no Star Wars toys or anything. I had VHS tapes of the 3 original movies, the original cuts! I watched these over and over again until the tracking lines in the tape became too much to see past. I use to paint my other action figures to represent Star Wars characters since no toys were on the market then. I often think about how lucky a 10 year-old is right now, the Star Wars world is their oyster, hahaha. In high school, my friends and I got really into “Alien” and “Aliens.” The tone of the film was something that was another wonderful memory discovering.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

DZ: Since I was very young I always admired Walt Disney and Jim Henson, mostly because my mom adored them and their work. Later on, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, of course. Any kid growing up in my time would say the same, I think. As I grew older my scope and tastes began to vary with people like Roger Corman, Mike Judge, Jim Wynorski, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Paul Hertzberg, Samuel Arkoff. I am fascinated by many different types of film and filmmakers. Things you would think are not on my list, I might be a big fan of because I enjoy and respect the process the filmmaker developed.

David Zani's Work

When you look back on things what are you going to see? Did you work on your dream projects? It sure looks like David Zani is.

TDQ: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

DZ: I hear the same advice from people – they either say it directly to me or I hear other people say it in interviews and speeches. Do not wait around for people to make your dreams come true – go off and do it on your own. I believe this statement like it is a religion.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?

DZ: Great question! I was once told to keep my “stupid ideas” to myself. I made sure to never do that!

TDQ: You’re also a member of the American Society for Amateur Archaeology. How does producing a movie compare to finding a rare historical artifact on a dig in some desert?

DZ: Film making is fun, it is a fulfilling career. I love to tell stories and entertain people but I think uncovering artifacts and stepping in the footprints of people from long ago is the most magical thing and lifts my spirits to very high places because it is true adventure. It does not include much stress (for me). I am not true scientist, of course, dealing with the politics of it all (which I am sure is very stressful). I often think about the moment that Howard Carter opened the door to King Tut’s chamber for the first time in 5,000 years. To see things no one has laid eyes on in that amount of time – just sitting there as the days passed, remarkable to think about.

TDQ: You’ve also worked with Richard Belzer, developing content for his website and his production company. What did you learn from working with him?

DZ: I loved working with Richard. He is a great comedic talent with outrageous vision and wit. It was one of the first times I was really working with someone who was well known. I was young and nervous at first, but he was so humble and funny it was easy to create cool work. On the smaller scale of things, I learned timing from Richard, the importance of it and the basics of developing good timing. On a larger scale, I think just learning about him and his career and all the different projects he has worked on, really showed me that you can go anywhere in this world.

TDQ: What project are you working on next?

DZ: Right now I am working on something really special. It is more mainstream, animated and has a rich story, for which I am very proud! It is an epic mythology I am creating, with my own modern twist. I will have more to say soon! To keep in the loop my website OldMillEntertainment.com will have updates in time.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself and Old Mill Entertainment in five years?

DZ: I believe that we will continue to expand our horizons and to continue developing projects that increase in sophistication and audience reach. I am fascinated with the mixing of genres to create new and fresh things, I am fascinated with history and the story of people on Earth – this is the foundation of my work. As I continue to learn more about my interests I will continue to create new stories and characters that people can relate to, be inspired by and be entertained with.

Be sure and follow Dave on Twitter and on Instagram.