What do you do: Creative Par-tees

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Throughout my convention travels I’ve been able to meet many creative people who I am now blessed to call friends, one amazing person is Angie Trombley of Creative Par-tees, a custom screened t shirt company that she started herself. After working with Dena and Bob Somerhalder and their company Built of Barnwood at various Vampire Diaries conventions they had received various requests for custom made t shirts, Angie decided that the best route to take was do it herself.

Angie is the creative mind behind all the designs, and also creates the screens and prints the t shirts herself, she’s a wonder woman. while many may be aware of her creations focusing on fandoms, the business also covers any custom designs a business or person would wish for; including shirts for special events and charities. As a firm supporter of indie companies Creative Par-tees is one of my favorites, as Angie is at the helm and her family is along to support her, with he husbands and sometimes her kids travelling to various conventions to sell their shirts.

Screen printing according to Angie is a very physical process and in hindsight she would have likely chosen to opt for a direct to garment printer as opposed to a screen printing press. And while she finds the process of printing the shirts therapeutic she is less than a fan of the clean up.

“When it comes time to clean those screens, or reclaim them for a new design, that can be tedious.”

Some of the aforementioned fandoms that Angie has represented on her shirts include Boondocks Saints, Breaking Bad,  The Vampire Diaries and the extremely popular The Walking Deadwhich happens to be one of Angie’s favourite shows. Most commonly requested designs usually feature either Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries or Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead.

“I was never a zombie person. I didn’t watch zombie movies. My husband is the one who started watching it first and said I should. The opening scene. Addy Miller as this sweet little girl, turns around and is the bunny slipper zombie and Rick shoots her in the head. I was like, nope. No thank you. But he [my husband] said I should give it a chance. They had me at Daryl Dixon. Then Carol. Then Glenn. It’s about the characters. How do we retain our humanity in a world where it’s killed it be killed? How do we develop relationships in a world where death is so prevalent? It’s the character arcs that I love. The whole cast, the writers, the directors, the crew, the make up artists, everyone involved, put their all into making this show what it is. That is why it’s so popular. I started reading the comics after I started watching the show. I enjoy that they do mix things from the comic books. It keeps comic readers on their toes just as much as the non readers.”

 

Angie’s had the opportunity to get personal reactions from the members of the various casts of shows she’s represented on shirts including the cast of The Walking Dead. She has branched out to sell her creations at the extremely popular zombie, horror and sci-fi fan conventions run by the company Walker Stalker. One of her favourite moments involves Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, who took a photo with her daughter on his personal phone, after seeing her dressed as his character Daryl Dixon. While the celebrity reactions are always great she has also been touched by how her customers have embraced her products, including one fan who used her custom baby onesie as her pregnancy announcement.

“All of the actors that I’ve given shirts to (which is the majority of The Walking Dead cast) have been lovely people. They’re all appreciative and amicable. Lincoln A. Castellanos, who plays Tobias on Fear The Walking Dead, was so excited about my Tobias inspired design. I gave a bunch to him for his family. Brian Mahoney and David Della Rocco, from The Boondock Saints, are great guys too. David asked for my autograph. Ross Marquand (Aaron) and Michael Traynor (Nicholas) both [from The Walking Dead] posted photos of themselves on their Instagrams wearing the shirts I gave them. “

The interactions at conventions has also allowed for great opportunities, and Angie has some new designs in the works, including shirts featuring the shows Arrow and The Flash.

 “Michael Cudlitz has been amazingly supportive to me. I have a friend, who is an amazing artist, working on a design for me right now, at the request of Michael Cudlitz (Abraham on The Walking Dead) and his agent. Not so much for themselves, but for the fans. I don’t want to say too much about it until it’s launched, but it’s going to be hilarious.”

Want to get up close and personal with Creative Par-Tees?

Here is their tentative 2016 convention schedule: (dates may be added/removed)
April 9-10 Walker Stalker Convention Nashville
May 28-29 Walker Stalker Chicago
June 25-26 Walker Stalker Charlotte
July 30-31 Walker Stalker Boston
October 1-2 Walker Stalker Con Philadelphia
October 28-30 Walker Stalker Atlanta
December 3-4 Walker Stalker New Jersey

In case you can’t see them in person and you want to purchase some of Creative Par-Tees creations they are available online here. Keep up to date with all their comings and goings by following them on Twitter and ‘Liking’ them on Facebook.

Advertisements

B.O.B and Somerhalder Secrets: Family Affair What do you do Bob and Dena?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over the past 2 years I’ve had the opportunity and in many cases privilege to meet some very amazing people(many I have featured on my blog) I would like to add to this list the lovely Somerhalder family, and before you get overly excited this post has nothing to do about the most well-known member Ian(in fact this will likely be the last mention of him, sorry)
Bob and Dena Somerhalder are the charming owners of both Built of Barnwood (B.O.B for short) and the gaming app Somerhalder Secrets. The intrepid and hardworking Somerhalder’s are truly delightful and always have time for the various fans who come up for autographs and pictures at each and every convention they attend. They’ve also created a Facebook group to help fans keep up with their various con appearances. Contrary to popular belief there isn’t a huge company behind anything the are associated with, Bob actually creates each of his pieces himself, with Dena’s help of course. It’s refreshing to see that they don’t just put their name on a product or use the popularity of other family members to create sales. Bob and Dena are genuine and have created products they are proud to sell.

Built of Barnwood is based in the charming coastal town of Bay St Louis, Mississippi. Bob Somerhalder’s focus is on reclaiming, recycling, and repurposing vintage wood and building materials. Once reclaimed, the wood is handcrafted into home decor, furnishings, and design accent pieces. Bob strives for a greener, more sustainable economy. With this green desire in mind, the Somerhalders have launched a clean and sustainable business of contemporary products with a vintage flare.

Though best known for their crosses B.O.B has an array of beautiful and unique pieces including the newest addition: the autograph boards (autographs not included) which can be customized if preordered, popular with convention goers and the celebrities have also endorsed them. If interested in ordering an autograph board or for more info on them you can email Bob at bobsomerhalder@yahoo.com
Their newest creation is the gaming app Somerhalder Secrets – Raised on the Bayou which is a highly addictive tile-matching puzzle game with a twist, after you successfully complete challenges you will receive secrets about the family, and these are little known facts provided by all the Somerhalder siblings, yes including the aforementioned screen actor. This game features sea creatures commonly found in the Somerhalder’s native home of the Louisiana bayou. The app is available for purchase on the iTunes and GooglePlay stores now.
You can keep up to date with this busy couple by following them on twitter: Dena, Bob, Somerhalder App

 

#SupportIndieFilm Field of Lost Shoes IndieGoGo Campaign

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last May I had the privilege of attending the premiere for the film Field of Lost Shoes, and though it’s opening in theatres September 26, it will only open in limited release. That is unless you help, there is an IndieGoGo campaign to help bring Field of Lost Shoes to more theatres. From their campaign page:

We are currently releasing this movie in 24 theaters across the country in 20 markets on Sept 26th.  We would love to expand this amazing feature film.  The money we raise will go towards the marketing dollars needed to expand to additional theaters. Our current theatrical release is completely funded and moving forward.  We need additional money to expand this theatrical release to more markets.  The top number of people donating in a particular area will allow priority placement of a theater in their market.

Field of Lost Shoes is based on the Battle of New Market fought in Virginia on May 15, 1864 in the American Civil War. The film is a touching coming of age story that follows the experiences of 7 young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute as they (and their school mates) are enlisted into active battle to defend the Shenandoah Valley. The film has a stellar ensemble cast including Zach Roerig, Max Lloyd-JonesLuke Benward, Nolan Gould, Jason Isaacs, and Tom Skeritt.

Like other IndieGoGO campaigns this one has great incentives to those who donate, including a behind the scenes DVD that is not available to the general public. The campaign ends in 13 days (October 4, 2014) so help spread the word and donate, and bring Field of Lost Shoes to a theatre near you. For more information on the film follow them on their official twitter or Facebook page.

Fifty Shades of Grayhm: What do you do Steven?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In our disposable society it’s refreshing to find someone who’s trying to make a difference and is committed to seeing their project to completion regardless of the obstacles. Steven Grayhm is at the helm of the production company Astoria Entertainment, which is now in pre-production of their first film Thunder Road. Co-founder of Astoria Entertainment, a company he created with Charlie Bewley and Matt Dallas “We saw this great opportunity to be a driving force in cinema and to get behind the projects and the stories that weren’t being told by the studios whether it was because of commerce or lack of mainstream popularity.” 
Inspired by the stories his grandfather, who spent 5 years as a WWII POW, shared with him as a child. “I grew up with his private stories that he only shared with me about dehumanization, sacrifice, evil and triumph in the face of adversity.”  Steven began writing the script for Thunder Road in 2003 at the beginning of the Iraq conflicts.
Thunder Road is the story of returning U.S. soldier SGT. Calvin Cole (played by Steven) whom we meet in present day Detroit as a troubled veteran who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and tbi (Traumatic Brain Injury) from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Initially resistant to the VA system Cole must find a way to assimilate back into civilian life before he ends up dead or in prison. This film serves as his way of giving back to this generations soldier. After being met with much opposition in trying to create the film through traditional Hollywood channels, Astoria launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign. While the campaign was met with many hurdles(including a change in crowdfunding platform) Grayhm never lost his determination, “there was never a plan b. We had a warrior mentality from day one: complete the mission or die trying.” Contrary to some dissenters Astoria didn’t have funding secured for the film prior to launching their campaign. “This is a VERY expensive independent film. To make the version of the film that we had always envisioned is costly.
Wanting to ensure the authenticity of the film Steven set out on a road trip with Charlie and Matt in 2011, “in order to tell an authentic story that we needed to travel across the country and sit in front of the people that are directly affected by war: active duty soldiers, veterans, their families, PTSD clinicians, neuropsychologists.” Being immersed in that world served to motivate Steven and reinforce the importance of getting a movie on this topic made. Two years later the boys again set out on the road to help raise both awareness and funds for their film. While both road trips had their challenges Grayhm admits the second one was more stressful, with a deadline to reach their campaign goal and an extremely tight schedule that had them traveling to different city’s every few days as well as fitting in time for media appearances and fundraising events.
“There’s an art to making people care about an unpopular subject matter. It’s easier to turn a blind eye and with all that is going on in our busy lives – easy to be distracted from important social issues.”
Since the launch of their campaign there’s been an outpouring of support and the creation of a social media community focused on helping raise PTSD awareness in conjunction with Thunder Road, Grayhm credits this to people realizing what a tragic epidemic PTSD is among the veteran community. ” I just think there has been more coverage because more vets are returning home from war and we are starting to see the adverse effects of PTSD in the news. 22 Veterans kill themselves everyday in this country. Statistically, our vets are more in danger of their lives on home soil than at war. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to help, who want to do more and just don’t know how to.”
Not one to be pigeon-holed Grayhm considers himself a writer/actor/director/producer, he likes variety. Though he will be starring in Thunder Road Grayhm will also be involved in all aspects of the film, “There’s still a lot of work to be done so I am involved on a daily basis and will be well until the film lands in theaters.” Choosing locations for the film’s setting was influenced by the experiences of the road trips as well, “Detroit is America’s city. I think it also reflects the current state of much of the country. It is a character unto itself in the film. Texas showed Thunder Road a lot of love and the terrain is perfect for the deployments in the film.”
On his writing process Grayhm has a few basic requirements: “I usually like to know the subject matter inside out, I like to be well informed. A relatively quiet place when writing – though I almost always listen to music. Sometimes a glass of wine helps to open the mind and free myself from editing the idea before it’s even committed to paper. Always edit sober though.”
As the creator of Thunder Road Grayhm understandably feels responsible for making this film a success, “Absolutely! I can say that we all feel a great responsibility to get this right for our veterans, active duty soldiers and Marines, their families and VA staff. We also hope the movie going public connects with the message of the film. Education is power. Compassion will save lives.”
Since the completion of the campaign Astoria Entertainment have partnered with Something Kreative Studios(Geoff Clark and Lisa Lapan), and are currently casting for the film. While the campaign has ended Astoria Entertainment is still offering incentives on their site, which includes the opportunity to be an extra in the film. Thunder Road is set for production in the Fall of 2014. To stay updated on all things Thunder Road ‘Like’ their Facebook page.