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 Neil D'Monte - Movie Actor

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PaulDaleRoberts



Number of posts : 1047
Registration date : 2009-05-17

PostSubject: Neil D'Monte - Movie Actor   Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:34 pm

Interview with: Neil D'Monte
Jobs: Film/TV/Video game storyboard artist, comic book artist, voice-over person for cartoon characters, also movie and television actor
Interviewed by: Allen Klingelhoets
www.jazmaonline.com
CEO

Allen: Thank you Neil D' Monte for taking time to do interview with Jazma Online. Jazma is entertainment website. It is honor to have you here at Jazma. I noticed you were born June 30th, 1971. Please tell me about some of your earliest memories reading comic books.

Neil D'Monte:
You are welcome, Allen, and thanks for having me. I started having an interest in comics with a first love of animation. I used to watch Ralph Bakshi’s Spiderman series, Starblazers and Battle of the Planets when I was around 5 years old. My mom and dad used to take me to the supermarket where they bought me titles like The Savage Sword of Conan, Amazing Spiderman, Uncanny X-Men and Batman. The artwork is what drew me in but the stories are what sold me. I was pretty much hooked ever since. And my friends and I would dress up in the costumes and play scenarios based on these books. They really opened up our imaginations.

Allen: What were some of your favorite comic books that you used to read as kid? What type do you like to read now?

Neil D'Monte:
As a kid Batman, Camelot 3000, Night Force, Twisted Tales, Cloak & Dagger, Amazing Spiderman and Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men were my faves. Paperbacks like the Conan novels, Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon and Ron Goulart/Gil Kane’s Star Hawks were also very influential on me. I was also very interested in comic strips like Peanuts, The Family Circus, Ziggy and Bloom County. Now I really enjoy graphic novels like Earth X and Batman: The Killing Joke. I am also interested in vampire novels like Whitley Strieber’s The Hunger and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

Allen: I noticed that you began your career as comic book and story board artist. Where did you get your professional training? Who were some of your comic book artist Mentors. What were the names of comic books first worked on? Also, please tell what companies and when first published your work.

Neil D'Monte:
Yes, I did begin my art/film career as a comic book artist which quickly segued into storyboards. I went to the University of Southern California (majoring in Fine Arts) but originally taught myself to draw. USC really honed my skills. I learned how to do storyboards by reading the book Shot to Shot and by studying Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest storyboards. Professionally I learned storyboarding techniques from Dick Sebast at Marvel Animation. The first book I did professionally was Gate of the East Wind by Doug Warr and Aaron Mason, whom I am now good friends with. The book was published thru Praxis Comics in 2004/5, I believe. Since then I have worked on indie/self-published titles like Jon Simon’s Templar (available thru Graphically) which came out earlier this year. Other titles are still in post-production and I will let you know about them as they are available.

Allen: Do you come from family with history in comic book industry?

Neil D'Monte:
No but my mom and dad are both artistic, mostly in the fields of music performance. My sister Michelle is not a bad artist. She would rock if she practiced.

Allen: Tell me about how you were involved in the film Bunraku. Tell me about this project.

Neil D'Monte:
Bunraku is a classic struggle of good vs. evil. The film is about two strangers, one good at hand to hand combat and one good with weapons, who team up to defeat a common evil. I was originally hired as the storyboard artist on this film. Then during the casting process, was hired as an actor to play The Pianist. And later, I was hired to create an animated sequence and the pop-up book in the film with artist Rod Costello.

Allen: What was your favorite thing about working on Bunraku?
I think getting to travel to Bucharest was the most exciting part of working on this film. I made a lot of new friends while working on this film too. This was also the first film I worked on almost all the way thru - a first for me.

Neil D'Monte:

Allen: Please tell me about 1998 appearance you made in Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show? Did your character ever appear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book series?

Neil D'Monte:
It was a one-liner wearing prostetic make-up applications for the first time. A fun experience! And I was SAG-eligible from that gig. And no, it was a quick appearance and I was killed off instantly. I never made it into the comic book.

Allen: Tell me about your appearance in 2008 Day of the Dead movie.

Neil D'Monte:
I was originally hired by Steve Miner to do the storyboards for the film. Later on, he cast me as one of the hospital attack zombies as I know how to “act” thru makeup. It involved a lot of heavy prosthetics and hard to see thru contact lenses. Was pretty fun, especially taking a bullet to the head.

Allen: What are some of your favorite genre of movies you like to appear as characters?

Neil D'Monte:
I really enjoy anything horror/sci-fi/thriller-related. Would like to do more comedy too! An action film is also on my agenda.

Allen: Tell me about your character played in 1981 television series "American Dream".

Neil D'Monte:
I was a kid who was on a bus that broke down at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Our parents had to pick us up and my character was distraught and upset. That was also my first experience ever on set. It was filming in my home town of Chicago which is how I got cast.

Allen: How did you go from television show series "American Dream" (1981) to penciling comic book stories "Gate of the Lost Wind" and "Pilot and Sunshine"? Did you always want to work in comic book field?

Neil D'Monte:
It seemed like a natural transition. Working as an actor, I got to experience being in front of the camera. I learned a lot about scene study and creating character arcs. Then I was interested in what “makes” a film happen - the whole choreography of it all. Comic book and storyboard illustration gave me the opportunity to play director and allowed me to develop the look and feel of the “world” my characters live in. And yes, I have always wanted to work as a comic book artist. It is a love of mine so I never feel like I am “working”.

Allen: How hard is it to envision storyboards for comic books compared to movies?

Neil D'Monte:
Comic books and storyboards have their similarities and their differences. With storyboards, you have to show camera direction and be able to communicate your ideas with the director, producers, dp, cast and crew. Eye lines also have to match up. Comic book illustration allows more “flexibility” and you do not have to necessarily transition to different scenes and call out every shot. You just pick the best camera angle in which to tell the story. Plus comic books are a more “finished” style of art as they have to be camera ready. Storyboards can be detailed too but are mostly done quickly to get the basic idea across.


Allen: I also noticed you were creature designer in The Mummy movie. I re-watched the scene noted on your website (high priests in "tomb sequence"). Do you feel scenes of this sort are easier due to your work in comic book field?

Neil: D'Monte:
Somewhat. However my comic book artwork is more stylized than photo-realistic film style. My approach to design is all about research and contextualism. I sketch out what my client wants and usually ask them what they like. Then I incorporate my look and textures into the character/creature/prop/set piece. It is always important for me to make sure that it fits into the environment.

Allen: Have you managed to work in any current movies? Tell me about some of your work in movies currently in pre-production/production.

Neil D'Monte:
Yes, I have been keeping pretty busy as an actor. I completed filming “Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation” whose release date is this October. It is the sequel to the first cult horror hit currently airing on Fearnet. I play ‘Bobby Kimball’, the best friend of Gerald Tovar, Jr. (Andrew Divoff of “Wishmaster”) who is the unfortunate victim of an “accident”. I also just completed playing the Homeless Man’ in the upcoming film “TBK2: The Toolbox Murders 2” – the sequel to the Tobe Hooper cult film “The Toolbox Murders”. I am also attached to “Of Light and Darkness”, the film adaption of my lovely friend Shayne Leighton’s dark fantasy novel. I will be playing a vampire named ‘Jorge’. I really cannot wait to do this as he is whip-smart and completely cunning.
As an artist, I have storyboarded the film “Thicker” which is currently in production. I am also involved with two other horror/thriller franchises which I cannot talk about. But you will be the first to know when I can talk about them.
As a musician, I am working with my good friend/guitarist Peter DiStefano (of Porno for Pyros/Lance Herbstrong/Satellite Party) doing music scoring and original soundtrack work under the duo Blast Brothers (name might change though). We thought it would be both fun and productive to be a guitar/drums rock duo and contribute to film/tv and video game projects. Working with Peter is a dream come true for me too. He is such a great guy and just about the most talented musician I have met. He has such a love and a passion for music and life.
Allen: What is the current project you are working on now? I heard it is an original take on the vampire legend.
Yes and you heard that correctly, Allen. I am currently developing an original graphic novel/film I.P. called “Clan Of The Vein” with my very good friend and partner, Neo Edmund. Without giving too much away, the project can best be described as “Die-Hard with Vampires”. We really felt that we had something very special when we began this process a few years ago. Currently my end of the graphic novel is done. We will be doing a Kickstarter campaign soon to raise the money for the book’s coloring/lettering and publication. After this, we will be taking the published intellectual property out to our friends at the studios with the feature film script. It is a very exciting time! The good news is that we will be offering some exclusive and original one-of-a-kind items thru Kickstarter which you will not be able to find anywhere else including limited edition jewelry, miniature weapon sets, signed dvd collections, music paraphernalia and even a special bust of our main character, Ian MacBane. We are encouraging fellow friends and comic/film/genre fans to really be a part of something special with us on Kickstarter and be involved throughout the process of seeing Clan Of The Vein come together. Please look out for our project and show your love and support at Kickstarter.com. It will be up within the next few weeks.
You can follow us at this time on our Facebook page:
Facebook.com/ClanOfTheVein
With every 50 “likes”, we will be doing giveaways of stickers, posters, signed original art and other fun bonuses.


Allen: Tell me about some of your favorite characters played in movies.

Neil D'Monte:
Playing ‘Juan Rodrigo’ in “Vampires Anomymous” would probably tie with the ‘Drunken Cantina Pirate’ in “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest”. But every other role I have done holds something special to me as I am such a huge fan of all of the genres.

Allen: I also noticed you worked in smaller theatre productions. What was it like appearing in "Death of a Salesman", "Macbeth" and "A Christmas Carol"? Also, where and when were these productions held?

Neil D' Monte:
Doing live theater is definitely an adrenaline rush as you have no room for failure. In films, you can always do separate takes if you flub a line/misplace your marks. In theater, you have to rehearse constantly but also have to be good at improve in case you flutter. These productions were held at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, the Walt Disney School and The Edgewater Center of Dance and Drama in Chicago.

Allen: I love watching cartoons with Green Lantern. It was really fun for me to learn that in 2007 you did voice overs for Alan Scott and Green Lantern. How did this work come about for you?

Neil D'Monte:
I was offered the work on the teaser (the series was up in the air at that time) thru a friend who listened to my demo. My friend Alex Lugo is a very enthusiastic comic book fan who coached me in Green Lantern’s debut and back story as I did not have a lot of time to prepare. So, feeling confident, I went in and did the voices. It was a lot of fun and I got to work with good friends. Once again, this was for the teaser to get an idea of what the series would be like if it were picked up at that time.

Allen: How hard is it to get mouth of cartoon character to match up with you as voice over person?

Neil D'Monte:
I am not too sure about how that exactly works. For the projects I have been involved in, animators watch footage of us while we are recording the voices first. Then they get certain characteristics you may have and go about designing the character around this.

Allen: Are you planning to do any more work as voice over person?

Neil D'Monte:
Yes, and I would love to do so! There is so much I would like to do in this area. And it is really fun and challenging. I would also like to try for a cartoon series or video games.



Allen: How many different types of voices can you do? Are you fluent in other languages other than english?

Neil D'Monte:
I can do a lot of different voices and even amalgamations of two to three into one character. Most of these I got from just meeting people randomly, mostly on trains and public buildings. You have to pick up on certain quirks and individual may have and riding on that. And no, I only speak English. But I would like to learn other languages like my native Portuguese.

Allen: Are you working on any new comic books or graphic novels at present time? What are the best ways to get your new projects?

Neil D'Monte:
Yes. Right now, “Clan of the Vein” (COTV) is my heart and soul. Neo and I are very busy with this production. You can get “Templar” at Graphically.com. “Gate of the East Wind” is available thru Praxis Comics. COTV will be available by early next year in print, on-line or by apps designed by Blue Rocket Labs.


Allen: What do you like to do for relaxation?

Neil D'Monte:
I go to different beaches to lay out/read/rollerskate. I also go hiking quite a bit, mostly up in Malibu and in the PCH area. I also paint in my spare time in Andy Warhol’s Pop art style.


Allen: What is the best way for someone to contact you?

Neil D'Monte:
You can contact me thru my website, www.neildmonte.com. Or at the following links:
www.facebook.com/neil.dmonte
www.twitter.com/neildmonte


Allen: Thank you Neil D'Monte for consenting to do interview with me. I only feel like I touched tip of iceberg with your resume asbase for interview. I hope you some day let me interview you again. Would you like to leave jazma readers with any closing thoughts?

Neil D'Monte:
You are welcome and thank you for your time and for the interview, Allen. And yes, I would like that. I would just advise anyone following their passion to commit to it and see it thru. Keeping your eyes on your goal and following your love is attainable and within reach. But you have to work for it.

HPI Chronicles: Beyond the Norm Vol III Comes Out this Halloween!

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