Articles filed under Sotonoff/Gire

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  • Schaumburg native swaps Broadway dream for behind-the-scenes career Jul 14, 2014 5:13 PM
    Schaumburg native Natalie Bounassar, 23, starts her job as a production secretary on Lee Daniels’ new 2015 Fox network drama series “Empire.” She has been an associate talent booker at ABC 7’s “Windy City Live,” a post-production assistant at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, and writes a blog called “Entry Level Escapades,” an advice column for young people just entering the work force.

     
  • Elburn native dances to fame with Austin Mahone, Justin Bieber Jul 8, 2014 3:06 PM
    Aubree Storm, who grew up in Elburn, has criss-crossed the globe these past few years working as a choreographer and hip-hop dancer for some of the world's biggest teen pop stars, including Justin Bieber. She's now a contributing choreographer for singer Austin Mahone. “Every TV performance you see (of Mahone), I stage.”

     
  • Libertyville editor helped cut ‘Fault in Our Stars’ Jun 23, 2014 2:17 PM
    They filmed a scene in the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars,” where Hazel (Shailene Woodley) makes herself a cup of tea while talking to her mom. The tea-making part of the scene got cut in the editing process, creating a challenge for Libertyville native Greg Borkman. Borkman, 26, performed all sorts of film editing tricks while helping to edit the blockbuster movie, and the experience is opening doors for him to do other visual and creative work in Hollywood. “I don’t think it’s even set in yet. It’s very surreal,” said Borkman.

     
  • Oscar nominee from Oswego sees ‘beautiful people’ in prisons Jun 16, 2014 5:16 PM
    Filmmaker Edgar Barens is going back to jail. In fact, the Oswego native is going to 50 prisons this fall, showing inmates and wardens his Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.” Barens’ goal is to get the jails to start inmate-run, privately funded hospice programs. “If I can get it out there ... I think it’s going to be a game changer,” said Barens.

     
  • Woodstock-born makeup artist creates memorable TV, movie looks Jun 9, 2014 6:54 PM
    “I’m Hollywood’s best kept secret,” Mike Smithson admitted. He could be right. The Woodstock-born makeup artist’s impressive resume reads like a pop culture album of greatest hits: Tim Burton’s movies (including “Alice in Wonderland,” “Big Fish” and “Planet of the Apes”), TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Spider-Man” films and “Men in Black II.” Those are just some of his credits.

     
  • Elgin native sounds off on Hollywood success Jun 2, 2014 2:15 PM
    He’s worked on 90 episodes of the TV series “Star Trek Enterprise,” four seasons of “Star Trek Voyager” and one season of “Star Trek Deep Space Nine.” And yet, you’ve never heard of Dean St. John. But he hears everything. He has to. That’s his job. The Elgin native and Larkin High School graduate works as a sound technician and ADR expert for Hollywood movies and TV shows.

     
  • Downers Grove barber becomes BET comic May 12, 2014 5:12 PM
    Comedian T. Murph, of Downers Grove, landed a highly coveted spot on BET's renowned, stand-up comedy show "Comic View," which he's watched since he was a kid growing up in Kankakee. “I literally broke down crying, I was so excited,” T. Murph said. “It’s pretty surreal.” The 29-year-old, whose real name is Guerterrius Jackson, was chosen from a pool of hundreds of comics, including 57 in Chicago alone. “Comic View” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on BET.

     
  • Glencoe native Fred Savage’s wonder years behind, off camera May 5, 2014 7:21 PM
    You probably remember Fred Savage as Peter Falk’s super cute grandson in the popular 1987 movie “The Princess Bride” or as super cute Kevin Arnold in TV’s popular “The Wonder Years.” Everyone else does. “I’ve been fortunate to be associated with works that have come to mean something to people,” he said. “When people come up to me, they are always positive and encouraging and thoughtful.”

     
  • Glenview native Sam Witwer moving on from vampire role Apr 28, 2014 2:23 PM
    After four seasons of playing a vampire on Syfy's "Being Human, Sam Witwer, a 36-year-old Glenview native, is now eyeing other TV acting roles and possibly movie producing. But he looks back fondly on the popular sci-fi show, especially the last season. “We did go with a happy ending, which I think was deserved after torturing those characters for years,” Witwer said. “It went out the best way it possibly could.”

     
  • Barrington native a scream in upcoming 'Godzilla' Apr 22, 2014 10:39 AM
    If you see the May 16 release of the new “Godzilla” movie, keep your eyes peeled for an attractive casino tourist screaming into the camera. She's Barrington native Dona Wood, an actress now living in Los Angeles. “I fell into this job,” Wood said. “So I get cast as a member of this casino group. The camera comes on me and I'm supposed to scream, which I did. I screamed right into the camera."

     
  • Warrenville comedian makes a career in TV commercials Apr 15, 2014 5:30 AM
    Comedian Jon Huck of Warrenville built a career being funny on stage and on camera. His wild-haired yet average guy style has landed him roles in movies and dozens of TV commercials. One of his most popular videos, the "Guitar Baby" ad for Rocksmith, has close to 5 million views on YouTube. “Commercials aren't about skill. They're about a look," he said.

     
  • ‘Austin Powers’ role gold for Buffalo Grove native Apr 8, 2014 5:30 AM
    Buffalo Grove native Aaron Himelstein said his attraction to acting boils down to this single word: empathy. “When you don’t empathize with other people, that leads to apathy,” he said. “So this keeps your heart open.” Now starring in Steppenwolf's "Russian Transport," Himelstein also played a young Austin Powers.

     
  • Hoffman Estates cameraman focuses on Hollywood Apr 1, 2014 5:30 AM
    David Seekins’ job as a Hollywood cameraman comes with rewards — including hobnobbing with celebrities. But the job also requires long hours and intense attention to detail. “You have a margin of inches. If you’re just a couple inches off, it can ruin the whole shot,” said Seekins, 39, a Hoffman Estates native.

     
  • ‘Divergent’ author Roth cites her suburban mentors Mar 18, 2014 6:10 AM
    Best-selling dystopian science fiction writers don’t just fall off trees. They need mentors. Just ask Barrington High School grad Veronica Roth, author of “Divergent,” now a Hollywood motion picture opening this weekend.

     
  • Chicago-set 'Divergent' sprang to life in author's Barrington bedroom Mar 18, 2014 11:52 AM
    Veronica Roth is a Barrington High School graduate with three best-sellers on her resume, plus an upcoming Hollywood film based on one of them. And she's only 25. During winter break from Northwestern, Roth would sleep until 1 p.m., then sit on her bed in Barrington and write a novel titled “Divergent,” the biggest young adult book to hit the printing press since Suzanne Collins' “Hunger Games.”

     
  • Gurnee native hits high note as international opera star Mar 11, 2014 5:07 AM
    Gurnee native Amanda Majeski was rejected when when auditioned for a musical program at Carmel High Schoolin Mundelein. But now, the Northwestern University grad stars in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Mozart's “La Clemenza di Tito” through March 23. ”It's all so bizarre,” she said. “I grew up watching the Bulls play, watching the Bears and stuff. My parents loved athletics.”

     
  • Elk Grove model, dancer making acting her priority Mar 4, 2014 5:33 AM
    Tiffany Panhilason could brag to Hollywood casting directors about how she’s toured the world as a dancer, performed with stars like Justin Timberlake and Pharrell, and modeled for national ad campaigns. Instead, when she goes to auditions, she emphasizes her acting talent. “I don’t look at it as, ‘I’m a dancer and I hope they take me seriously.’ I go in thinking, ‘I’m an actress.’” said the Elk Grove High School alumna.

     
  • Glenbard West grad ‘20 Feet’ from Oscar documentary stardom Feb 25, 2014 5:37 AM
    Glen Ellyn native Caren Capotosto said, “I seriously think the filming of the first reality show ‘Yearbook’ at Glenbard West High School when I was a freshman may have subconsciously stuck with me.” Sunday, Capotosto will find out if her movie, “20 Feet From Stardom,” will win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. She served as the associate producer on the project, about backup singers.

     
  • Four-decade actress started out at Elk Grove High Feb 18, 2014 5:34 AM
    Stephanie Faracy’s showbiz career began at Elk Grove High School when drama director Scott Lebin cast her in the lead role of Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker.” “That was the first time I understood you could enter another world by being someone else,” Faracy said. That high school experience would launch an acting career that’s spanned more than four decades, with roles on “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island,” and “Castle” and “Modern Family.”

     
  • Suburban childhood experiences are comedy gold Feb 11, 2014 5:24 AM
    Every time the Benet Academy football team scored, Cameron Esposito got out in front of the crowd — dressed in the school’s redwing mascot costume — and flapped her wings once for every point. “I was dating the football team captain, so I had a vested interest ... and being a giant red bird was the closest I ever was going to get to being a cheerleader,” she said. Her suburban childhood laid the groundwork for a stand-up comedy career.

     
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