Ep.22 Alia Rasul and Anand Rajaram - Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable Pt 1

May 2, 2018

There are some conversations that just changes you.. for the better.

The topic of diversity and inclusion has been becoming a bigger focus for me as a performer. But what does it mean to really dive into this conversation? To dig deeper into topic of diversity and inclusion from a performer/artist point-of-view, I reached out to my friends Alia Rasul and Anand Rajaram to dive into this topic and learn from their experiences.

Alia is talented comedy improvisor/performer, who also serves as the Inclusion Director at the Bad Dog Theatre. I've known her for a few years now, and I just love the work she does in the Toronto comedy community advocating for inclusion and supportive space for performers. She hosts a show called Humans of Improv at the Baddog theatre, which showcases performers who identify as a person of colour (POC). It’s great!!

Anand is an actor, writer, performance artist, as well as a Second City Mainstage Alumni. I first got to know him at the Diversity and Inclusion Symposium hosted by the Bad Dog Theatre back in May 2017. I have been a fan of him since then! You can find Anand taking a theatre full of audiences on a journey through his artistry that shines through as a performer. I just recently saw him in Mustard, it was blown away!!

This is part one of the conversation that I went in and came out as a different person. I hope you find this conversation insightful as much as I did.


Some links! 

Bad Dog Theatre - Inclusion Programs and Community Initiatives

Anand's Imdb 

Alia's Bio

Sun Ra 


Music composed by Ayaka Kinugawa!! 


Ep.21 Warren P Sonoda and Michael Hitoshi Maddeaux - Japanese Canadian Filmmaker’s Roundtable

February 23, 2018

Welcome to episode 21 on the House Lights Podcast!!

This episode features a conversation I had with Warren P. Sonoda, and Michael Hitoshi Maddeaux. They are both filmmakers at different stages of their professional careers and personal life. One commonality we all share is that we come from Japanese backgrounds and we’re navigating the entertainment/storytelling industry. We talk about our own origin stories, growing up as Japanese-Canadian, how we relate to the diversity movement, and the importance of expressing your own point-of-view in your own work. I had so much fun connecting with other Japanese storytellers, something that rarely happens! This is a very special episode for me and I hope you enjoy it as well! 

Warren is an award-winning director, who also currently holds the position of National Directors Division Chair at the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC). His body of work and accomplishments are so extensive, I recommend checking out his biography and  IMDB page. He has over 160 music video credits, and an impressive list of film/tv directing credits including Trailer Park Boys, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Swearnet: The Movie, just to list a few.

Michael is an up and coming film director and cinematographer who co-founded Shoyu Films, an independent production company, with his film partner Elston Wong. I got to work with them in their latest short film “When You’re Broke and Dating!”. They were so fun to work with, please check out their work on their YouTube page!

We name dropped quite a bit in this episode in the best sense possible. Most of these people are Toronto locals doing great work. I really believe they are worth knowing if you don’t already, so you can find out more about them in the links below!!!


Warren P. Sonoda (CFC profile, IMDB)

Michael Hitoshi Maddeaux (Shoyu Films)

Director's Guild of Canada (Website)

Ingrid Veninger (IMDB, Porcupine Lake

Mina Shum (Website, IMDB)

Clement Virgo (IMDB)

Sudz Sutherland (IMDB)

Kat Sandler (Profile from Tarragon Theatre Website)

Joseph Khan (Website, IMDB)

Anand Rajaram (IMDB, Website)

Alia Rasul (Profile from Bad Dog Theatre Company)

Mike Clattenburg (IMDB)


Music by Ayaka Kinugawa (Hooksonic.com)

Thank you for tuning into my conversation with Warren and Michael!


Ep.19 Holly Wyder - Hustle + Team Work

October 20, 2017

Welcome to Episode 19 of House Lights!! Today we talk to Holly Wyder, who is a Toronto-based Actor with an amazing work ethic!

Holly is fearless. She has produced many live comedy shows in the city, produced and starred in "Getting Odd" which received praise in the 2016 Toront Fringe Festival, and is the creator the web series "Female Therapy". 

What's really amazing is that this is only the tip of the iceberg for what Holly has acomplished. We dive in and talk about her time in Toronto, and how she ended up making a well-produced web series without any initial production knowledge, but with just the drive to create a project.  

The power of collaboration and trusting the process was a key component in our talk. One of the biggest take away for me was that it's okay not to know everything, as long as you either take the initiative to learn or bring on team members that can support you. 

We dive into how Holly got her start in the entertainment space, how she dove into various projects, and what she learned from all this wonderful experience!  I really enjoyed this episode, and I hope you do as well!! 




Check out Female Therapy!! (Web Series)

Comedies Never Win Production (YouTube Channel, Facebook, Web)


As usual, our music is provided by our friend Ayaka from hooksonic.com! 


Ep.18 Florian Francois - Rencontres / Encounters

September 18, 2017

Welcome to Ep.18 of House Lights! We have Toronto-based actor, voiceover artist, writer, producer, and all-around hustler Florian Francois on the show! 

He's is a force of creativity and hustle. Having only been here in Toronto for about 4 years, and the amount of acomplishment Florian experienced is simply amazing! His current project, "Rencontres", can be seen on Bell Fibe TV. It's a French language TV series that showcases the people and city of Toronto.

We explore his origin story. I especially enjoyed learning about his hitchhiking/backpacking trip from Vancouver back to Toronto, and how that has affected him. We talk about the work that went into the making of Rencontre, and talk about guerrilla-style fillm making. The approach Florian, and his film parter Brennan Martin took to tell real stories in this medium was simply fascinating to hear! I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I have!!

Related Links

Rencontre on Instagram, Facebook, IMDBIndigogo page (closed campaign) 

Article about Rencontre via Toronto Guardian  

Previous House Lights Episode with Ivan Wanis-Ruiz  

The Actor's Place (TAP)

Ayaka's Music  


Ep.17 Ken Hall - The State of Play

September 4, 2017

Welcome to Episode 17 of House Lights! We have Toronto-based Actor, Comedian, Improviser, Ken Hall on the podcast today! He currently stars in the TBS show "People of Earth" as the alien Jeff the Grey, where his comedic talents flourish! 

This episode has been 4 months in the making and we were finally able to sit down for a conversation! Ken has been really busy! We cover Ken's origin story - how one deliberate change to improve his life snowballed into the amazing success he is having as a performer today. We talk about classes, teaching, his experience on set, and many principles that has helped Ken along the way. 

I learned a lot from this episode, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! Check out the links below to learn more about Ken and his projects! 

As usual, the theme music is by my friend Ayaka at hooksonic.com! 



Follow Ken on Instagram, and Twitter!

People of Earth IMDB

2-Man No-Show Facebook Page

Ken's NY Fries Commercial Spot :)  



Ep.16 Davin Lengyel - Serving your Fans

August 28, 2017

Welcome to Ep.16 of House Lights! We have Davin Lengyel on the show, and he's our first web series director and producer guest! I'm really excited about this interview because Davin comes from an unconventional background doing really well in the web-series and crowdfunding world. 

In this show, Davin shares his experience in the web series world in the pre-YouTube era, and how one of his earlier projects develped into a legitamate TV series. We talk about his recent projects, Space Janitors and Deep Six. They are Sci-fi based webseries. You can actually check out Space Janitor here, and find out more about his current project Deep Six through the facebook page and crowdfunding page!

If you love science, this is the web series to check in. Davin and his team went the extra mile to ensure the science was accurate as possible. They consulted Prof. Jaymie Matthews who previously consulted for shows such as Stargate (SG-1). They also used rear-projection technology to bring their scenes to life, which is such an interesting concept not only from a technical point of view but in terms of acting in a scene. Check out rear-projection here!   

We then finally talk about crowdfunding and how Davin and his team worked with the actors of Deep Six. It was really an eye-opening conversation and I hope you enjoy this episode! 

**We recorded in a cafe - there's a bit of cafe ambience/background noise which I couldn't get rid of.. there were some parts were the noise was too much and I had to voice over some parts of the conversation. I apologize for any inconvenience. 


Some Links! 

Deep Six imdb - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6416100/?ref_=nv_sr_2 

Watch Space Janitors!! - http://geekandsundry.com/shows/space-janitors/ 

Some of the actors mentioned - Tamoh Penikett, Kristien Bruun, Mika Collins, Michelle Morgan

Ron Leach's Scene Study Class (Sept.12-Oct.31st) !! - http://www.ronleach.com/scenedynamics/ 

Music by Ayaka - hooksonic.com  


Ep.15 Anita Abbasi and Martin Baena - Making a film!!

August 8, 2017

Anita Abbasi and Martin Baena make amazing short films. They collaborated to make “The Talent Scout” (2015), and their latest project “Mariah ¡Que Baile!”. We talk about their film making process, what their partnership looks like and the lessons they took away from these experiences. This is our first conversation with film makers on the podcast and I’m really excited to share this with you.

We talk about what their pre-production, filming, and post-production process looks like for their new project “Mariah ¡Que Baile!”. We talk about, how they went about funding, found actors, putting together a team, submitting to film festivals and more. We get a glimpse of what directors think about when working with actors, and how they apporach storytelling.  

If you wanted an inside look into what making a short film can look like, this is your episode! Anita and Martin also work in the film industry, and the thoughts and knowledge they shared was amazing! I hope you enjoy this episode!


About Anita - https://cinematekkitsch.com/

About Martin - https://martin-baena.com/

Support Mariah ¡Que Baile! - https://www.facebook.com/mariahquebaile/

About Steve Ejbick (The Sound Guy!) - https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-ejbick-63296b35/?ppe=1  

Lester Millado’s (DOP) Cinematography Reel - https://vimeo.com/83605287  

The Talent Scout - http://www.nsi-canada.ca/2017/05/the-talent-scout/#

John Cassavetes - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001023/

Podcast music composed by Ayaka Kinugawa (hooksonic.com)


Ep.14 Neeraja Ramjee and Clinton Walker - Broken Images

July 31, 2017

Welcome to Ep.14 of House Lights!! We have Neeraja Ramjee and Clinton Walker on the show today! They are currently working on a production of the play "Broken Images" written acclaimed by Indian playwright Girish Karnand.

We talk about Neeraja and Clinton's origin story, how they got started in acting. We talk about training, collaborations, and approaches to developing a one-person show. I learned a lot from this conversation, especially about the one person theatre format. Their passion and commitment to the production is contagious, and it's amazing to see how Neeraja's vision of putting up a play is coming to fruition.

"Broken Images" will be playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre located in Leslieville from Aug.11th to 20th! Please check out their event page for additional information!!


https://www.facebook.com/brokenimagesplay/ (Broken Images Event Page) 

https://www.instagram.com/brokenimagesplay/ (Broken Images Instagram)

http://hooksonic.com/ (Ayaka's work) 



Ep.13 Ben Train - The Magician’s Mind

July 24, 2017

This is episode 13 of House Lights, today we have Toronto based magician Ben Train on the show!

This concludes the mini-series examining the mindsets of magicians and getting to know the Toronto Magic Community.

We talk about ideas magicians and mentalists deal with when giving a performance. We touch on ideas like originality, suspension of disbelief, ethics, and many things that made me think about my own performances moving forward.

What’s also exciting about this episode is that we talk about the community of magicians in Toronto, and the Toronto Magic Company which Ben is one of the founding members. They are making live magic performances more accessible for everyone in the city. I hope you enjoy the sneak peak into the magical side of Toronto!



The Toronto Magic Company - https://www.torontomagiccompany.com/

Ben Train - http://bentrain.ca/ 

TMC Social - Facebook, Instagram

Discourse in Magic - http://discourseinmagic.com/ 

Browser's Den of Magic - http://www.browsersden.com/ 

Music by Ayaka from hooksonic!


Ep.12 Chris Mayhew - Shattering Obstacles

July 17, 2017

Welcome to Episode 12 of House Lights! Today we have Toronto based magician, Chris Mayhew with us. He is a prolific creator of magic effects performed by magicians world wide. He is a solid entertainer who can be seen performing live magic shows all around the city. 

We talk about how Chris transitioned his career path form being a magic creator to performer. He shares the obstacles and triumphs he faced as he developed into the performer he is today. We had an interesting discussion about drawing parallels between skills and crafts outside of magic and how that ties into anything you choose to pursue. We had a great conversation, and I hope you enjoy this as well! 


Some links related to this episode 

http://www.chrismayhewmagic.com/ (hire Chris!)

https://www.torontomagiccompany.com/ (check out local magic shows!) 

https://www.artofmagic.com/ (want to learn magic?) 

http://discourseinmagic.com/ (Check out this magic podcast by Toronto magicians!) 

http://hooksonic.com/ (looking for music for a project?)