Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re taking another ride on the nostalgia train. If you were a kid in the late 90s then I have a treat for you! After millions of book sells, countless years, and A LOT of Marvel movies, we’re finally getting a movie about a very under appreciated superhero. Yup, today we’re talking about the ‘Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie’ trailer. Whether you loved this series, or wished everyone would shut up about it, you can’t deny the legacy and reach of this series. When the 1st trailer for the movie dropped recently, I knew that we had to talk about it, so let’s get to the trailer. Ready? Ok, lets go!!!
First let’s get into a brief history lesson about this book series. Captain Undepants was 1st release in the U.S. on September 1, 1997 and ran through August 25, 2015. Over the years the series has been met with critical acclaim and controversy which has landed it at the top of several banned books lists (which honestly we all know only makes a book more popular). Now as for the trailer itself, we definitely see that the movie seems to follow the original source material very closely. Firstly we meet 4th grade best friends George Beard and Harold Hutchins who love pulling pranks at school, and writing about the superhero they created together, Captain Underpants. George and Harold are known to be troublemakers at their school, much to the dismay of the evil Principal Benny Krupp. When George and Harold get in trouble one day, they hypnotize Principal Krupp and he starts to believe that he is Captain Underpants, thus our adventure begins. With the voice talents of stars such as: Kevin Hart (who honestly probably doesn’t need an introduction), Ed Helms (known for his work on ‘The Office’ as well as ‘The Hangover’ movie series, Nick Kroll (who most recently worked on the highly successful 2016 adult animation movie ‘Sausage Party’), this movie is definitely expected to be a huge success. So what do you think people of the internet? Will ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic movie be a success or a laughable flop? I guess we’ll find out on June 2nd just how far the nostalgia train will ride
All photos and information used in this blog belong to YouTube, Captain Underpants, DreamWorks Animation, David Soren, Mireille Soria, Mark Swift, Nicholas Stoller, Dav Pilkey, Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms, Scholastic Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, The Office, The Hangover, Sausage Party, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Greg Daniels, Todd Phillips, Daniel Goldberg, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Legendary Pictures, Green Hat Films, Benderspink, Warner Bros. Pictures, and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, authors, publishers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Which wont be hard since I haven’t been hungry lately
It won’t be hard now that I have a goal
In the saddle
It won’t be hard
Because I’m willing to do whatever
To win.” -Rae from ‘The Sky Between You and Me’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book that you should definitely add to your Goodreads reading challenge (yeah, yeah, I know that your TBR is already insane, but this book is worth the room. Trust me). So what is this amazing book you ask? I’m glad you asked people of the internet! Today we’re reviewing ‘The Sky Between You and Me’ by Catherine Alene. Not only is the story interesting, but will definitely leave a lasting impact on you once you finish it. I will try to make this review as spoiler free as possible, so if you’re ready let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Our story revolves around high school junior Raesha (aka Rae), a rodeo rider who dreams of winning Nationals just like her mother did when she was in high school. We are then introduced to Rae’s best friend Asia, Asia’s boyfriend Micah, and Rae’s boyfriend Cody. Everything in Rae’s life seems to be going well until a new girl named Kierra moves into town and begins to disrupt all of the order in Rae’s life. Throughout the story we learn that Rae’s mother died from cancer when she was a little girl and Rae always carried the guilt due to the circumstances of her mother’s death. Due to Rae’s growing loneliness because of Kierra’s presence in her life, as well as Rae’s father’s constant absence due to his job, Rae quickly falls into the grip of an eating disorder. She begins by just telling herself that she will lose a little weight in order to fit into her mother’s old riding saddle, however things get bad VERY quickly. Throughout the rest of the novel we see how Rae’s eating disorder affects her life, and the lives of those around her in both expected and unexpected ways. This is truly a powerful story with an amazing message of hope that doesn’t sugar coat the dark side of eating disorders.
I not only really enjoyed the plot of this story, but also the relationship between Rae and her father. You could really see the love that they had for each other, as well as his need to try to fill the void that her mother’s death has left in her life, and his terror when he feels as if he failed this task. I also really enjoyed the fact that Rae and her friends were from a small country town and enjoyed completing in rodeos. This was definitely a fresh change of pace from your typical YA setting. Lastly I personally really loved the fact that the entire story was written in verse, which added a unique vibe to the story. Although there was SOOOO much I loved about this book, there were some problems. Firstly I HATED Rae’s boyfriend Cody! He was a completely unlikeable character who made me want to slap Rae for even dealing with him. Cody openly flirts with Kierra every chance he gets, and is completely unsupportive of Rae, even when he finds out about her eating disorder. Also, the story definitely had sections that were very slow and boring, although this didn’t happen often, it definitely lost the book half a smiley face on it’s overall score. Lastly, I really wish that we had spent more time on the obvious connection between Rae’s mother’s death and Rae’s eating disorder. I know that eating disorders are very complicated matters and there is never a necessary “cause” of this disease however, I really feel that this event had a lasting impact on Rae and thus it would’ve been nice to dive more into that. In conclusion I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story and doesn’t mind books written in free verse. If you don’t typically enjoy this style of writing then this maybe a hard story for you to get through however, I definitely suggest that you give it a chance. Because of all of this, I give ‘The Sky Between You and Me’ 4 1/2 smiley faces (due to the slow parts of the story). This is definitely worth your time, and I suggest you pick it up right away!
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Catherine Alene, Sourcebooks Fire, Twitter, catherinealene.com, Goodreads, Amazon, netgallery.net, all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, authors, publishers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any book(s), mentioned in this blog post, all of the and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a very unique book. If you haven’t heard of ‘The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett’ by Chelsea Sedoti then you need to keep reading because this book will most likely make it on to your TBR list this year. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this book however, I would never lie to y’all in a review and this book definitely has some issues that we’re going to discuss. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett’ begins by introducing us to our protagonist Hawthorne. She is a young teenage girl who becomes fascinated by the disappearance of her classmate Lizzie Lovett. Hawthorne and Lizzie definitely fall into the stereotypical “loner” & “popular girl” roles and because of this Hawthorne hates Lizzie. Now as you’ve probably predicted, Hawthorne comes from a very eccentric family, except her brother who is your stereotypical popular jock who has a huge crush on Lizzie. Ok so now that we have our foundation set up, let’s talk about what I liked about this novel. Hawthorne. Yeah, that’s honestly all there is. She was a very witty, funny, and an all around enjoyable character (at first anyway, but more about that later). Now don’t get me wrong I don’t have a problem with stereotypical YA novels that follow familiar and predictable tropes however this novel just feels confused and disjointed. The plot begins as a mystery, then adds possible supernatural elements, then quickly changes into a romance (sort of), and shifts the initial mystery into a side-story. The ending is completely unsatisfying and doesn’t make a lot of sense, and the romance is awkward to say the least. I’m not going to talk too much about the “romance” because it would take another blog post to explain everything wrong with this relationship. We get introduce to Hawthorne’s love interest Enzo early on in the novel and he is completely unlikeable and uninteresting throughout the story. The entire time I was reading this story I just wanted to reach into the book and slap Hawthorne for wasting my time on him (she can be with him in off-screen land, but why do I have to suffer through this). Lastly, we land back on Hawthorne. Her character is my favorite and least favorite part of this book. She started off as such a unique, interesting character and turned into your stereotypical dumb, petty YA girl. It’s not often that we see new, interesting female characters in YA and it’s just so sad that the author ruined such a potentially great character.
So this leads us to what you’ve all been waiting for…the final thoughts. Honestly I HIGHLY suggest that you skip this one. It definitely gets a 1 out 5 smiley faces for the book’s lack of focus, uninteresting characters, and overall boring tone. Personally I only finished this book because I received an ARC and committed to writing an honest review. With so many other amazing YA books out there I wouldn’t waste your time with this one.
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Chelsea Sedoti, netgallery.net, chelseasedoti.com, Twitter, Goodreads, all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, authors, publishers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any book(s), mentioned in this blog post, all of the and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
“Maybe this is the definition of a summer fling? Finding someone you can be with like this, uninhibited. Not bogged down with thoughts of the future. Not bogged down with thoughts of much else outside of this moment and us.”– Finley from ‘You Before Anyone Else’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we will be reviewing the book ‘You Before Anyone Else` by Julie Cross and Mark Perini. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this amazing book earlier this year and am super excited to share this book with you! If you`re looking for a story with drama, heartbreak, love, and so much more, than this is the book for you. Are you already super excited? Yeah you are (just so you know, this will be a spoiler free review because y’all NEED this book in you life…like seriously you do)! Ok let’s jump into the review. Ready? Ok, lets go!!!
‘You Before Anyone Else’ is a YA romance which centers around teens Eddie and Finley as they navigate the difficult world of modeling in New York City. One night they meet at a party and thus begins an intense journey that will teach them both about love, sacrifice, and what it truly means to find happiness. On the surface `You Before Anyone Else’ seems like a very basic and predictable YA romance novel. Finley, the good girl who knits in her spare time and helps her disabled father care for her younger brothers decides to shed her image by hooking up with “edgy, bad boy” Eddie and then moving on with her life. However, life has a way of wrecking plans, and once you begin to learn more about these characters you see that they both have deep, personal scars that cause them to always make decisions that are in the best interest of those around them, instead of figuring out what they actually want. ‘You Before Anyone Else’ is told in alternating points of view so we get a chance to see the story from both character`s perspective. This can be a very difficult storytelling devise however Cross and Perini pull this off perfectly. Honestly this story will make you laugh, cry, and instantly take you on a beautiful journey that you never want to end. I would definitely give this book a 4 out of 5 smiley faces and suggest that you pick up your copy now…as in this very second…the links are below, honestly what are you waiting for?
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Julie Cross, Mark Perini, Sourcebooks Fire, juliecrossbooks.com, Twitter, Facebook, markperini.com, Instagram, netgallery.net, all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, authors, publishers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any book(s), mentioned in this blog post, all of the and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the Internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss an AMAZING new book that y’all should all check out! If you’ve never heard of Dana Burkey then please keep reading because this is an up and coming author that you HAVE to check out. Dana has just released her new book ‘Learning To Fly’ and trust me when I say it’s a MUST HAVE for your summer TBR. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Learning To Fly’ is about a 12 year girl named Max. She is a tomboy who enjoys hunting, fishing, playing sports, and just generally having fun with her next door neighbors Peter and Kyle. Max’s world is turned upside down when she discovers the world of competitive cheerleading. At first Max decides that the glitter and bows are too girly for her, but through some persuasion from her dad, Max decides to give cheerleading a try. Throughout the course of the story Max finds friends, enemies, and possibly two potential love interests (let the shipping wars begin!). I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book for you, but if you like sports, YA fiction, and stories with a great plot and characters that you will absolutely fall in love with then this is the book for you. Personally I couldn’t put this book down, so I HIGHLY recommend that everyone check out ‘Learning To Fly’ for themselves.
Also keep an eye out for book 2 of this trilogy entitled ‘Reaching The Summit’ which should come out in October of this year, and please keep checking back here and on all of my social media sites for a special giveaway coming soon (trust me you won’t want to miss it!).
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Dana Burkey, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, authors, publishers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any book(s), mentioned in this blog post, all of the and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to talk about an amazing channel that’s a little different than what we usually discuss. I think the coolest thing about YouTube that draws us all to it is that everyone is able to find interesting, entertaining people who share our interests and obsessions. Whether you love amazing covers, unique beauty/hair tutorials, hilarious comedians, or anything in between you’ll find the perfect channel to subscribe to. Today we’re going to talk about an incredible Booktube channel called abookutopia (which features a seriously entertaining self-proclaimed book-o-holic named Sasha) so if you love books and/or anything book related then you’re going to want to keep reading. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘Divergent Book Trailer’, which was uploaded on July 11th, 2013 (you check out this video below) is a really fun skit that all Divergent fans will love! Sasha does a great job of showing that not only is she very knowledgeable about this amazing book, but she also has the ability to instantly mesmerize her audience and keep us interested throughout the video. In a world where most people have a VERY short attention span (I mean honestly why do you think we love Vine so much), it’s interesting to find someone that makes you want to watch their videos and not worry about the length of the video. The next video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘Interview with Melissa Landers!’, which was uploaded on May 28th, 2014. This is a really fun interview to watch because it is extremely well executed, and demonstrates Sasha’s natural on-camera charisma and fun-loving nature. She has a lot of other really interesting interview with various authors on her channel so I would definitely check them all out!
The next video that we’re going to talk about is Sasha’s ‘If You Like This…| BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS!’ video, which was uploaded on February 5th, 2015. If you are a HUGE book lover (c’mon you know everyone reading this blog post should have their hand up in the air right now…yes you too), then you’ll want to watch this video on replay. In this video Sasha picks a really interesting and diverse group of books, and not only tells you which books you should check out that are similar to these books, but also why they’re similar. The final video that we’re going to talk abut is Sasha’s ‘My Playster eBook Library Tour!’ video which was uploaded on December 7th, 2015 (you can check out this video below). In the past few years everything we enjoy has gone digital and mobile, from handheld/mobile video games, to our music, movies, and even books. Unfortunately sometimes we are just so busy that we may not have time to actually pick up a physical copy of a book and let our inner bookworm go wild. Luckily, e-books solve this problem by allowing us to take digital copies of our favorite books with us anywhere through the use of a phone, tablet, and other devices. In this video Sasha tells us all about the website playster.com, and goes through her personal Playster eBook library. if you want to check out a new site where you can find e-books, movies, music, and games, or if you just want recommendations on new books to check out, then this is the video for you!
Keep up with everything Sasha is doing (and reading here):
All photos and information used in this blog belong to Sasha Alsberg, abookutopia, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, abookutopiacom, Goodreads, playster.com, Playster, Divergent, Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins, Veronica Roth, companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any book(s), mentioned in this blog post, all of the and all companies, individuals, corporations, managers, writers, producers, and/or businesses that should receive credit for anything mentioned in this blog post, and all original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you an interview I recently did with Eric Stuart. If you don’t already know, Eric is a voice actor, voice director, and musician who has entertained us for years. He has had prominent roles in cartoons and anime such as: ‘Pokémon’, ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’, ‘One Piece’, ‘Slayers’, ‘Viva Pinata’, and so many more. Eric is also an extremely talented singer/songwriter who has released 9 albums with The Eric Stuart Band. In this interview Eric and I discuss the voice acting industry, which characters are the most memorable to him, what he wished he had known before getting into the entertainment industry, and so much more! So if you are a fan of great show/music then please read on. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Celinda: So how did you first get into the entertainment industry?
Eric: I’d always been a musician and I loved performing, but I never did much theater or acting. When I got out of school I really wanted to pursue music. I was offered a job at a recording studio, which I thought worked on music stuff, but it turned out that they produced radio and TV commercials, voice-overs specifically. So I was introduced to that whole other world, and I ended up working at that studio for 10 years, and then I ran that studio for a little bit. During that time I learned all about voice-overs, I ended up being a casting director and producer, and I started doing some of the voices myself during casting sessions when I had a two character spot and one of the guys didn’t show up. So I would read with one of the women that were waiting to read with a partner and the clients would end up picking me after hearing the tape. So it started to make sense to me that maybe using my voice as a voice actor would allow me the anonymity to continue pursing my music career and be taken seriously as a musician, while still using the same instrument I use a singer to make a living as an actor. So I kind of stumbled into the entertainment world especially with the voice acting side.
Celinda: Wow that’s a really interesting story, so you basically began on the other side of the acting industry.
Eric: Right, I think we learn a lot by watching. I also used to play tennis and I was a good tennis player, but I could watch somebody’s form and explain to them what they were doing wrong, and make them a better tennis player than I was. I think you learn a lot from listening and watching, which made it easier for me when I stood behind the mic, because I knew what it took to produce and assemble the commercials.
Celinda: So, what’s one thing you wish you had known about the entertainment industry, whether it be acting, music, or both, before entering it?
Eric: The biggest lesson I learned later, which could have been helpful earlier, is that the decision making really isn’t personal. You may do an audition and really feel like you nailed it, and then you don’t get the job. As an actor or a musician when you submit yourself and put yourself on the line, you need to really be able to let it go and move on to the next thing. After a few years of working in the business I would almost forget what I had auditioned for, because if you start adding up all of that income that you could have made from that day of auditions and then you don’t get it, you could be devastated by it. So being able to not take it so seriously and put that pressure on yourself everytime you get up to bat for a job is something that I wish I had known going in because it would have saved me a little bit of that disappointment and frustration. Because then it’s like a pleasant surprise when you do get the job.
Celinda: That’s a really interesting answer I’ve never gotten that one before, but I think that’s really true. You’ve done a lot of voice over roles in both anime and western cartoons, which role was the most memorable to you and why?
Eric: Well Brock and James from Pokémon are very much apart of my personality. I was playing a show at a venue and the person running the event told me about an hour after meeting me “You probably hear this a lot, but I’m a huge fan of yours I actually grew up watching you”, and I said “No, I’m very flattered”, because it’s kind of an honor to be apart of a pop culture phenomenon that kids who are 6 years old, and grandparents who are 60 years old know the word Pokémon. To be part of a show like that is a big deal and I’m honored to be apart of that. So Brock and James stand out because I like comedy, specifically comedic bad guys. James to me is so much fun to play because Team Rocket is not truly evil just a little misguided, and we still root for them even though we know their the “bad guys”. I also have to say that Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh is one of my favorites because there’s a big challenge in playing a character that many people dislike but he is also not really a villain, he’s a rival. I approached that idea with you can’t be the champ if there’s no one around to push you to be the best you can be. So without Kaiba, Yugi would just sit around and probably watch movies on Netflix.
Celinda: Very true, those characters are some of my favorites as well and definitely hold a special place in the hearts of fan everywhere.
Eric: I think that one of the reasons why Pokémon caught on so well is that there are characters, stories, friendships, and morals that people can relate to. More often than not people tell me “When I was in school I didn’t have any friends, and I’d come home or watch on Saturday morning and I felt like those were my friends”. It’s because these were people that everyone could connect to whether you liked Ash, Brock, or James, there was someone redeeming on the show. With Team Rocket you also see the relationship and friendship that they have with each other, and how they protect each other so that’s very redeeming as well.
Celinda: Elaborating on the legacy of both ‘Pokemon’ and ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ among their respective fans, what is it like knowing that the characters that you helped create on these shows are still so popular so many years later, and how do you feel about Kaiba’s prominent role in the new ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions’ movie?
Eric: Well I gotta say that I was very excited when I saw the Japanese promo, and of course the minute that came out, a lot of my fans wrote to me and asked if I would be in it. I would love to be in it, we don’t know nay of the details yet, that’s something that we have to wait for everyone on the production side to decide what their doing. I would love to come back and play Kaiba. I’ve made appearances at the Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments around the country as Kaiba, so I know Konami considers me Seto Kaiba but there are no guarantees. Hopefully I get the opportunity to play that role and if they go another way I’ll be disappointed, but that’s part of the letting go thing. It’s exciting to know that that story arc is the most popular among the Yu-Gi-Oh fans, so its’ nice to see that the creators and the people who are behind all of this recognize that as well. It will be interesting too, because it seems like the characters are a little bit older, so it would be great to do that.
Celinda: Yes, and Kaiba was definitely another non-villainous villain that was interesting because his backstory was so complex.
Eric: There’s definitely two schools of thought with Kaiba. I have fans who love to hate him, and I have fans who want to be just like him. I think when you dig deeper into his story you see where he’s coming from. Also I think when you see the Egyptian story arc and you realize that Kaiba was really Yugi’s sparring partner, that also shows that he’s there to push Yugi to be the best. I use the Rocky and Apollo Creed reference from the Rocky movies, because he needed someone like Apollo to push him, but also to be his friend. I think Yugi and Kaiba have a mutual respect for each other, I wouldn’t call then best friends, but I think that if they had a common enemy they would work together, as they’ve done. I think Yugi is a lot more of a pure hearted character than Kaiba is, but I think that Kaiba would still throw himself in front of the train tracks to save Yugi, unless he had to save Mokuba instead.
Celinda: So moving on I know that on shows such as a Pokemon and Yugioh you not only did voice over work, but you also directed, what was that process like for you?
Eric: It’s funny because it’s great to get the notoriety and the fun of acting as he characters, but what’s really very satisfying is when you’re the director you’re basically the cook, you’re baking the cake, you’re putting each piece together and creating the show. It was also a way for me to become friendly with the other actors on the show. Most of the time we recorded by ourselves so one person would walk in the room while the other was leaving, but I got to direct them so I got to spend hours and hours with them, and develop those friendships. It’s interesting the production side has always been satisfying for me, I like to be in the spotlight obviously I’m a performer and I enjoy that, but it’s also great to be able to take these pieces and turn them into hopefully a masterpiece. Another show that I directed that I’m very proud of was ‘Viva Pinata’ which was a very funny show. Unlike ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ and Pokémon where we had to match existing animation and match lip flap which requires 50% acting and 50% technical skills, ‘Viva Pinata’ is a pre-lay show which means that we record the voices first, and then I would assemble the passing of the dialogue line by line and then send that to the animators to animate, so I was really creating the timing of the jokes. So that was really very satisfying. There’s a lot of fun to being on that side of the glass which a lot of people don’t really know unless you’ve been in production. Because you don’t know what goes into the making of these shows sometimes, so it can be very satisfying seeing it on air or on the big screen knowing the hours and days you put into creating that show.
Celinda: It sounds like such a meticulous process, but the effort definitely shines through. I really love the musical numbers that you did for Pokémon as Team Rocket and Brock, ‘Two Perfect Girls’ from the ‘Totally Pokémon’ soundtrack has always been a personal favorite of mine. How does singing on a soundtrack as these characters differ from performing your own music in terms of difficulty?
Eric: Well one of the things that I had to make sure, especially with ‘Two Perfect Girls’ was that I couldn’t sing to well. I couldn’t be this great singer and then be the funny Brock on the show. I had to really focus on being a little bit pitchy, and quirky and funny rather than singing every note right. Whereas when I did ‘Double Trouble’ [which is off of the ‘Pokémon: 2 B.A. Master’ soundtrack] with James I wanted to be a better singer because I thought there’s something in James’s voice that made me think that he could be a better singer. The hardest thing about singing in the episodes is that we would rescore a lot of the music so when we would write a song sometime the lip flap wouldn’t move in time with the music so I had to sing slightly out of rhythm with that song. That was really hard to do because I play I’m rhythmic, I almost had to keep the music really low in my headphones so I wouldn’t lock in.
Celinda: So switching gears, lets discuss your own music, which artists have influenced your sound the most?
Eric: When I was a young man my mother gave me a radio that only got a local AM station that played oldies, so I grew up going to sleep listening to the oldies like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and The Everly Brothers while my friends were listening to more mainstream Rock n’ Roll. So when I started to sing, I could sing like Buddy Holly so he was a huge influence in the beginning. As I got a little older so many people were comparing me to Cat Stevens, and once I started playing with a band it was the whole Bruce Springsteen thing, I sang along with people I could sound like, so I think my list goes Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Cat Stevens, and then Bruce Springsteen.
Celinda: I can definitely hear those influences in your music, so are there any artists who have influenced your music that may surprise your fans?
Eric: Yeah, I’m a songwriter so I listen to a lot of music just based off of the song, which can be in any style of music. I’m primarily drawn to a good lyric I listen to a lot of more folk rock guys, but people like Elvis Costello are a huge influence for me in terms of songwriting, as a lyricist I just think he’s a genius. It’s funny a fan asked me the other day what my favorite Rock n’ Roll band is and they were surprised to when I said AC/DC, I probably play AC/DC more than any band when I’m getting psyched up. Which is surprising because they say, “I don’t hear any AC/DC in hat you do”, and I say “Of course not, but that doesn’t meant that they can’t be a favorite band of mine”. I also like beautiful melodic instrumental stuff, to sort of clear my brain. Sometimes you want to out on music that has nothing to do with what you do so that you’re not analyzing it, you’re just enjoying it. My playlists would surprise you because I like old disco stuff too, and old R&B and old Hip-Hop because I like to dance even though I don’t play that stuff.
Celinda: So, I’ve really enjoyed your latest EP Character, honestly I’ve had it on repeat for the longest time, what inspired the EP’s name?
Eric: Well the art was the reason. I went to a convention and one of the staff members had drawn individual badges for all of the VIP guests as caricatures of the actors, and I really liked the style of the picture. As we were putting the EP together I was thinking I play characters, I am a character, and your character is your honor, so I thought that this word means so many things, it kind of fits with who I am.
Celinda: So what was your songwriting process like for ‘Character’?
Eric: Well we had been playing the song ‘One Last Dance’, which was something that I really liked but wasn’t on any album yet, and the fans kept asking when I was going to record that one. So the idea was to go into the studio and record a single, but of course when you do that and put that much pressure on one song, you might go in and the magic might not be there. So I thought let’s go in and do four songs so if it comes out great, then it comes out great, if not maybe the other songs are better. So with that I decided to sit down and start writing so that I really liked the four songs that we were going to do. The way that I write songs is I sit down with the guitar and come up with a chord progression and I sign nonsense words and find melodies. Then sometimes words form in what I’m singing just by the shapes of the vowels and continuants and the syncopation. Also I write what I know whether everything is autobiographical or not, I think why people gravitate towards what I do is because I sing about stuff from the heart that I’ve either experienced or witnessed.
Celinda: Wow that’s such an interesting process, so what effect has living in cities with such famous yet unique music scenes such as New York and Nashville had on your music?
Eric: Well when I lived in New York and I played around town I was sort of two Country for a lot of the rock clubs, which is funny to me because I’m so not Country. When I would come down to Nashville before I moved here, I was told that I was too Rock for the Country places, so I sort of fell in between these two cities. I will say that in New York my songs were longer, then when I came down to Nashville, I realized that the songs were shorter and followed more of a formula. So what was great is that I took the stuff from the Rock n’ Roll stuff I had been doing, and the stuff form the Country stuff I started doing, and found a happy medium. If anything coming to Nashville ahs helped me tighten up my songwriting to be able to say more with less, and in New York I got away with saying more with more.
Celinda: Lastly are there any upcoming projects that your fans should look out for?
Eric: Well I’ve been doing a lot of audio books, if you go to audible.com I mostly work for one particular writer named J.R. Rain, who’s got a great sense of humor, thriller, horror, sarcasm thing going on in most of the books he writes. I just finished up a book that I’m editing right now which is called ‘Ghost Crypt’, which is part of a series that he does, it’s a ghost story that takes place in the tubes of London which is fun. I do a lot of industrial and corporate stuff, I’m also doing a lot of international promos for American sitcoms that air in India. There might be some cartoon stuff coming down the line so people should definitely keep their eyes open for that. As I said there are things that I can’t really discuss whether their going to happen or not, but I would keep my eyes watching some of the stuff that you might be hoping to see me in.
Celinda: Is there anything that you would like to say to any of your fans who are reading this interview?
Eric: My anime fans have been very loyal to everything that I’ve done in the voice-over world which is great, and they’ve actually crossed over to be music fans, which is also great. The thing that I want to say to them is thank you for the support, and those who haven’t really experienced the other side of who I am with the music, I ask them to go check that out.
Celinda: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today Eric.
Eric: Thank you for asking me.
*You can check out The Eric Stuart Band’s music video for their song ‘My Love Can Change That’ here:
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