This week we are fortunate to have an interview with a beautiful and talented guest. Horror & Sci-fi film actress Tonya Kay. Her excellent film background extends to her roles in Puppet Master: Axis Termination, The Other Wife, Amityville Terror and Bastard.
Welcome Tonya and thank you for honoring us with this quick interview. Let’s get this interview started.
Jonuel: What fun fact about you are most people not aware of?
Tonya: My first concert was Suicidal Tendencies.
Jonuel: What have you learned from senior actors?
Tonya: Acting is one field where the older you get, the better you are at it. Undeniably. Of course, you must be practicing your craft that entire time. But just watch the performance of a 74 year old. There is no compromise, there is no manipulation – no lack of self-awareness. Maybe I’m projecting here, because our seniors surely experience the same insecurities and depression everyone at any age does.
But if acting is about authentically expressing a full range emotions and life experiences, who is going to rock that? A 22 year old whom still frets over what the casting directors think of her body type, whose soul is by nature, less experienced – at everything. Or our seniors, whom have loved and lost, whom have fought in murderous wars, whom have crashed cars, run businesses, raised generations of babies and attended the funerals of more friends than we presently even have. THAT’S soul work. And it only comes from living. I have learned everything, in life and in acting, from our seniors.
Jonuel: What’s the last thing you do before you step in front of a camera or on stage?
Tonya: Before I step on stage, I circle up with my cast mates and set an intention for the show: “fuck’em in the heart”! Before I step on camera, I brush my teeth.
Jonuel: Can you describe the difference between past directors you have worked with?
Tonya: People come to directing for many different reasons and from many different areas of training and you can definitely see that on set. Some directors were camera crew>>camera op>>DPs and these directors, in my experience, tend to focus almost exclusively on what the shot LOOKS like. I worked for one of these directors that took it to the extreme: he spent a bunch of time getting the set up just so and *never gave the actors a guided rehearsal or any execution direction on set*! There was one moment when he actually said, “Go to 1,” (which is what they say right before “lights/camera/sound/action”) and we actors literally just stood there dumbfounded.
I worked with a director that was a producer/AD first and you could say he was bossy comparatively. That background must train a person to be hyperaware of budget affects work flow affects distribution affects visibility and in this case, it left the cast and crew feeling more like we’re the assembly line of an unimaginative, commercial product.
My personal favorite type of director is one coming from a writing/editing background. Bonus points if they take a year or two of acting classes, themselves, too! These types of directors tend to communicate with actors best, drawing out work from everyone that communicates the STORY best. One director’s editing history made her set extremely efficient without being pushy – she knew exactly what shots she needed to attack the story, so we nailed those and didn’t play around with hours of hopeful/maybe footage.
But no matter what a director’s background, the most important trait for them to exemplify on set is keeping it cool. There is a lot of passion, pressure and constraint on a film set and the best director is one whom knows how to navigate and guide the anxiety, the boredom, the hiccups, the excitement so that everyone can do the best work possible. And have fun doing it! There’s nothing more embarrassing or unforgettable than a director yelling or treating someone badly on set. We’re not doing open heart surgery here. We are making films. It’s a blessing and we have to remember that.
My favorite example of a director whom exemplified the magic “keeping it cool” vibe is Charles Band of Full Moon Features, whom I just filmed a lead role in Puppet Master: Axis Termination with. He never raised his voice, he never threw a set piece, he could magically sense when any cast or crew member was about to go south and he would walk right over to them, quietly say the perfect thing, and change the whole direction back to “hey, isn’t it cool we’re making movies!”. Why do you think he’s done 274 films at this point? Most with the same crew member filmily. Because he’s the best kind of director there is!
Jonuel: Tell me about what you’re working on now.
Tonya: On Feb 1st, you’ll see me in the Soksa Sister’s annual Blood Drive PSA as part of Women In Horror Month. I play a hilarious lead role on Lifetime Movie Network’s My Crazy Sex series, airing Feb 7th. Look for me in Puppet Master: Axis Termination premiering on El Rey Network this spring! I play lead role Nadia, in science fiction film, Earthtastrophe, which has been released on SyFy Asia, SyFy Latin America, SyFy UK and SyFy Australia – coming to the USA soon. I am the creator, producer and featured cheesecake in Tonya Kay’s Pinup Pole Show, a live classic car and pinup show – come see us in person http://pinuppoleshow.com
Thank you so much for the interview Tonya. Now comes the big finish, it’s all you Tonya, unleash the blurb!
“Tonya Kay’s brutally elegant acting work is coveted for the moxie, physicality and depth of the characters she creates. You can see her series regular in the upcoming Puppet Master: Axis Termination series (El Rey Network) and leading film roles in A Better Place (Cannes), Dark Space and Earthtastrophe (SyFy) and The Other Wife (Lifetime Movie Network). On TV you’ve seen her fierce and sensual acting on Rosewood (FOX), The Fosters (Freeform), Criminal Minds (ABC) and House MD (FOX). The only female nominee, Tonya Kay won Best Villain from the Horror Society 2016 for her lead role in Bastard (20th Century Fox) and draws upon Meisner, Anthony Meindl, Second City and iO West training to shape her fearless instincts. Tonya Kay’s sass and smarts side strongly with celebs as co-host with Penn Jillette on Street Cred (Travel Channel) and sketch comedy partner with Neil Patrick Harris and Conan O’Brien. Nothing makes Tonya Kay happier than when her ideals and art combine and it has been her distinct pleasure to work with fellow vegans Russell Brand, Ellen Degeneres, Emily Dashnel and Rob Zombie. This fit, female athlete performs her own stunts, and has stunt doubled PINK and fought Zoe Bell in the film Raze (Paramount). Tonya Kay’s favorite film is Faster Pussy Cat Kill! Kill! and when she’s not on-camera, she’s under the hood of her own classic hot rod.”
That was awesome! To all the fans of things that go bump in the night you can find more on Tonya Kay on-line;
Official website; https://Tonyakay.com
Visit IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1800223/
Follow on Twitter; https://twitter.com/tonyakay
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