VM: Getting the ball rolling here Kristos, Vents would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us during such trying times. How are you doing during this crisis?
K: No problem and thanks for having me! For the most part I’m just making sure the family’s good, staying inside, reading and catching up on a pile of work; making the most of it. I know it’s important to fully embrace the reality of things but I also feel it’s important to do our best to focus on the bright side of circumstances life brings us. Hope you’re doing well too!
VM: What can you tell fans about what’s to come in The Bay on Amazon Prime? Any small spoilers that you might be able to parcel out?
K: We get to journey into the beautiful, tropical land of Turks & Caicos, and my character (Pete Garrett) is on a dangerous adventure to save his family from a strong voodoo curse. Good times! (laughs).
VM: For those not in the know about The Bay, how would you describe the show for them?
K: It’s been described as the show that blurs the line between daytime and primetime programming, as well as pioneering the unchartered territory we know as digital streaming. Often labeled a Crime-Drama, content of the show itself is made up of lots of romance and mystery, and includes strong elements of horror and thriller. It’s the perfect mixture to keep the viewer at the edge of their seat while also their heart strings being tugged at nicely. It’s got the classic wealthy aristocratic family; The Garretts, mixed with a mess of dangerous issues going on within and around the pretty facade.
VM: You’re pulling double duty on The Bay; not only are you an actor on the show but you also are listed as producer. You’ve done this before, obviously, but how difficult (or not) is it for you to balance these important roles?
K: First I’d like to give most credit to our creator and showrunner, Gregori J. Martin. He puts his heart and soul into it and it wouldn’t be possible without him. I’m grateful that he not only appreciates my work as an actor, but that we make a great team as business partners. I believe being a great producer has a lot to do with understanding how great teamwork happens. It feels great to be a part of such a great team. For one who’s doing multiple positions, there’s the upside and downside to it. The downside is having to do too much at once, of course, where the overlap isn’t appropriate. This usually occurs due to a lack of organization due to never enough pre-production time. The most efficient way for us to get a great turnout is to bring on the most capable producers and production management, who have a clear understanding of the process when you are working under the gun and particular taste of the show. When something goes wrong, it is what it is, accept it quickly, then right away, more important than looking toward who’s to blame, this is a prime moment to encourage the team to stay banded together and expend energy on nothing but effort to just solve the problem. Each time we reach a solution, we get stronger and better. My producer involvement takes place creatively for the most part, as a company executive, and I try make sure things don’t overlap too greatly. It’s no more a balancing act where one position taxes the other, than the fact that when you step into another position, and understand that positions POV fully, it will support your awareness of how you can best serve the production from the contrary position. It makes us wiser to be able to see the same object from multiple angles. The process can be more enjoyed on a deep level int the process your thoughts and dreams becoming reality.
VM: The Bay has been pre-nominated for more than one Daytime Emmy. First of all, congratulations on the kudos and recognition. How does it feel to be so intimately involved in a show that has garnered so much attention and love?
K: Thank you! I’m proud to be involved in a project in which I’m no more proud of the show’s story than the real life story behind it coming about. It’s been a long haul of hard work, passion and team spirit. There’s been countless rough times, but when the faith to continue outweighs it all, and the passion to keep creating, well as you can see things end up paying off. I’m humbled and grateful to be part of a team that has truly earned their way to success by powering through the thick and thin that comes with it, based on a strong sense of faith and trust we have toward one another. The Bay is a family, and a very, very tough one.
VM: You’re no stranger to the prestigious Emmy Awards, having won seven yourself. Again, congrats! Do you ever get used to such an honor or is it always a humbling sort of accomplishment?
K: Really appreciate that. Well (laughs) I’m still not used to the first one. It’s such a blessing, and forever a blessing. It’s a timeless gift, in support of a journey that is in no way reliable or could ever be expected to turn out to be honored by such an award. I’m grateful forever. The deepest aspect to it is to be able to make my family proud, my loved ones proud, my mom got to be with me for my first wins, and for this to give inspiration to my future kids to know it’s a doable thing, to just go head on for dream jobs if they so wish to.
VM: You’ve more than earned a following with your skateboarding prowess. Is it fair to ask you which you prefer more, skateboarding or acting?
K: Thank you. I have no preference as they’re so hard to compare. I think the greater understanding to it, is they are both meant for me, just at different time frames. Skateboarding has served me greatly as the sport I grew up with, serving my confidence with the accolades no more than serving my personal development and understanding toward life. I will always be a skateboarder, and it takes nothing away from my love for acting, which continues to grow every day.
VM: How did you become interested in skateboarding?
K: I grew up in Santa Monica, right in the area skateboarding originated, known as DogTown. But this I learned after my fascination toward it, which was sparked by a few friends introducing me to their skateboards, and showing me skateboard videos. It just blew my mind, to see what impossible looking tricks were being pulled off by these guys. Flipping the boards around and catching them id air with their feet while coming down a set of stairs people have to hold banisters to stay safe walking up and down. Beyond the boring old traditional organized sports with all their protocols, this sport was wild; it was free spirited.. So I, fell in love with it. I saw skateboarders as by far the coolest people on Earth. These guys were fearless, creative and badass all at once. Athlete meets rockstar. So, of course I wanted to know more. One thing lead to another, and I had a skate crew, we started filming videos, then came competitions. The greatest takeaway I feel I’ve gotten from it, is the ability to just not fuss about getting something done right; in skateboarding there’s no faking it- it’s just straight up, you eat crap working your way to accomplishing something, and then through the trial and error you eventually nail it. Moreover, I cherish the team spirit that built between myself and the people I rode with. They were family, and still are. This translated well to the tone of spirit my company teammates and I carry together.
VM: A segue from skateboarding into acting is not without precedent in the annals of Hollywood history: Master thespian Jason Lee was a well-regarded skateboarder before acting in such projects as Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Almost Famous. Have you ever felt like comparing notes with Jason just for giggles or comparison’s sake?
K: Not really. I have a ton of respect for the guy, and my high school girlfriend and I were blown away by Almost Famous. Loved that movie.
VM: What is it about acting that attracted you?
K: Initially it was just a pipe dream that I’d feel a bit silly pursuing. Who am I to throw caution and dignity to the wind. I guess skateboarding conditioned me a certain way where making bold choices kept my blood flowing. If we think about the fact that life is guaranteed to end one day, and there will no longer be a single thing to be embarrassed about, then why actually have a single fear at all in your life decisions? Each life decision you make should have nothing to do with fear and everything to do with passion and excitement. I won’t say the nudges of encouragement from friend and family didn’t help, because they did. Particularly my mom and dad, family and especially my business partner and brother, Gregori. In many ways, where I stand now is just the elaboration of me trying it out, and I despite the fact that its been 10 years of work now, my energy has only grown, like its only the beginning of a long and fulfilling journey to come. Something an actor should come to understand about the craft, is it’s far more than a job or occupation. It’s much deeper than that. They need to be spiritually gratified the “doing” of it, rather than driven merely by the idea of holding the position of “successful actor” in society. And this understanding has helped me profoundly.
VM: What actors have inspired you in terms of your acting?
K: Something about me is I’ve actually not come to make much comparison between my own craft and ability, and other actors. It may sound strange or hard to accept like, who do I think I am? (laughs) well I just knowI’m above no one, and below no one. Each person is valuable for their own unique energy signature, and acting happens to be the craft where one must more than ever, clarify their own authenticities, rather than ever sway toward being to hinged to a sense of admiration toward another in the craft. I do love and celebrate certain actor’s careers, as well as friends, but I can’t say there’s anyone who inspires my craft more than just the experiences with the scene partners and people I’ve been gifted to work with. Each great actor in history has tapped deep within, which there is no comparison for. The same way one can be recognized by facial uniqueness, their energy should be just as unique, and not ever directly mimicking anothers.
VM: You’ve also served as a director (and sometimes as a co-director) on The Bay. Is this something that you would like to continue to pursue?
K: Yes. As a producer it’s been primarily creative, and developed more into creative direction, so it felt best to give it a full lock in. Gregori, who I’ve learned a great deal from working with over the years, had steadily got me more involved creatively as certain choices we made together, had checked out successful and of good taste, one after the other. I’m grateful for the work coming out so far, so good, and the acknowledgments mean a lot. Moreover, my mom wrote a beautiful script she wanted me to direct it one day. So, that alone would be enough to pursue it based on heart, but the cool thing is I’ve always enjoyed it anyway.
VM: Which do you prefer, television or film? Or do you find them both mutually rewarding?
K: They’re both rewarding in different ways. I’ve been told so many times by now that my style of acting suits film more than television, but I guess it’s still working out despite my work being primarily in TV at this point. I think one translates to the other just fine as far as style goes these days. Movie stars are doing television and vice versa. The business has evolved. Personally I like the idea of being able to get in and out schedule wise with film after film, in a few-month’s shoot at a time, but the family-feeling a long-running TV show and its whole team can develop with one another, and how they can empower one another, is also something I hold very dear.
VM: Has your family been supportive of your acting endeavors?
K: I’m very thankful to say yes, they have been. My mom pretty much made me sacrifice my Saturday skateboarding to be in plays with my sisters (laughs) and when I gave that up to focus more on competitive skateboarding, I still wouldn’t hear the end of it about giving acting it’s fair shot. Also, my Dad always told me, no matter what it is I put my mind to, he knows I will be great at it. I have a feeling that proving to them that I could make headway in one field, which they were very against most of the time, due to the danger aspect, but anyway that gave them both the faith that I could achieve something. And maybe they were just relieved to see me start to me delve into something that wouldn’t render me so injured (laughs) so I guess for that reason too, they showed support. Ultimately, they just let me follow my heart. This type of support meant the world to me, and always will.
VM: You have a couple of things listed as being in pre-production or as having just been announced. With the current tumult going on in the world, can you give readers an update on projects such as yA?
K: Yes! yA is in post production and coming out great. I’m happy everything went according to plan, and even better in certain cases. Enjoyed the exciting content my character crosses over with, as well as the full-on directing. The D’Ambrosio twins did us proud, including Dante Aleksander who’s like a little brother to me, and the whole cast and team. I directed this with Gregori, and we partnered up with Wendy Riche, Lisa and Frank D’Ambrosio, and my sister Celeste Fianna (also all producers on The Bay). It’s a dream team, and I think our synergies made for an amazing product. One thing that makes for further gratification in it is knowing that beyond the sensational teen-Y.A. genre, we were also able to work in very real and relevant story that applies to so many young peoples lives today. Much better than merely entertaining an audience, is to know in your heart that they can actually takeaway important values about life as they proceed in a new era that not even their own parents can give them all the experience-based guidance for. I’m excited, and very proud that The Bay now has a sibling show with such potential.
VM: Closing this interview out Kristos, let’s have a little bit of fun: You’re stranded on a deserted island. What one movie do you have with you to watch and wait out rescue?
K: Thats a tough one. Theres a lot of good movies, and none I’d want to watch over and over and over. I like Gladiator, Fight Club.. but I guess I’d have to say The Godfather since it would last long enough for rescue to arrive! (laughs) I’m sorry if this is a disappointing answer, but hence my earlier answer the best thing I’d like is to just bring my moms script and absorb that.