#ChristmasInJuly Step 3: Give a present, and hear boisterous stories from the wacky, fun-loving uncle the whole family can’t live without.
IIIIIIIIIIIIIt’s Monday, Hearties! Up and at ‘em, and let’s get started with the day! It’s still Christmas in July, after all!
To help us celebrate, may I present: The Man Behind the Mugs. No, I’m not referring to a photographer who takes pictures of ugly faces; I’m talking about the one and only Mr. Elliott Wallach, Creator, Owner, and President of Edify Films, the company that delivers all that amazing Hearties swag our way. Not only was he gracious enough to consent to an interview, but he offered to provide the prize for our FIRST GIVEAWAY CONTEST. Details on that come after you read, though. 😉 So snuggle under your Hearties blanket, grab a When Calls the Heart mug of your favorite beverage, and settle in for a wonderful read! I will tell you honestly, this interview does not do the man justice! Between the awesome story he had for each question, (and me struggling to write it all down!), and how hard I was laughing, I can’t catch half of the effect our conversation had. He really embodied the fun, story-telling uncle to a T. But I’ll do my darndest!
HH: Where are you from? Are you still living there?
*I live in Washington State, the Spokane area since 1991. Prior to that I was in the military right out of high school. I was a Russian linguist for the Army. (This is when I interjected in surprise, “You speak Russian?” and he took off in Russian on me. 🙂 I said, “Not me. My husband speaks Russian.” When I asked what he said, he said something to the effect of “I used to speak Russian badly, but I’ve been practicing and now I speak it very badly.”
HH: Tell us about your family.
*I’ve been married 21 years to my wife, Tiffany. We met at church, in the singles’ group. (That’s how I met MY husband, so that was fun!) The first time I saw her in the singles group, I thought, “Move fast, Elliott. Don’t panic! Remember, this is what you trained for!”
*I have 2 sons. I’m a soccer dad; I coach one of them on his team.
HH: What’s your ideal vacation?
*Oh, wow! Random! My ideal vacation would be warm, by the ocean, maybe a cruise. I don’t like having every minute of every day planned. So take a planner, the kind of person that schedules every second, and multiply that person by -1, and you’ll have me on vacation. I like to play it minute by minute, and right now I like the idea of reading and hearing the ocean, and every once in a while someone brings me a hamburger.
HH: That brings me to my next question. What’s your favorite food? Is it a hamburger?
*No, steak. I like a good steak
HH: And where’s your favorite place to find that good steak?
*There’s a restaurant here in Spokane called Mizunas. It used to be a vegetarian place, but then they expanded into meat… I don’t know what it is about vegetarians, but they just know how to make a good steak! I guess from all the practice making soy not taste like a DVD case.
HH: I’m going to go out on a limb, and assume that you consider yourself a Heartie.
*Yes, I am!
HH: So why do YOU love the show?
*The #Hearties, 100%! You guys are the egg and the nourishment of the show. The group is something amazing that no one has ever seen before, and probably none of the actors on “When Calls the Heart” will ever have a fan base like this again. You guys can impact culture with your influence and that can’t be underestimated.
*#Hearties match the passion I have for family-friendly and faith-friendly films.
*Aside from that, I just love the Hearties themselves. The people. If you ever go to a Hearties Family Reunion, it’s like going to a love spa! Everyone is so kind and caring and just sweet! You’ll never get more hugs and high fives.
*The best thing is that all the Hearties are this massive support group for each other, and most times they don’t know anything about each other beyond the font they use. (This is when I told him I met one of my best friends on the fan page. He laughed, and said, “See? Let me guess… Times New Roman? Or Arial? Calibri is nice too.”)
HH: Do you have a favorite season or episode?
*I really liked Season 6, the most recent one.
HH: Dare I ask if you have a favorite character or actor on the show?
*I do, and we’ll leave it at that. 🙂 (Then he proceeded to say something wonderful about almost every main actor. He only stopped because we were running short on time.)
*Martin Cummins: I love every single actor on the show! I really enjoy my time with Martin. That guy’s absolutely hilarious! One of the things we ask people is who you’d want to be trapped in an elevator with. My answer might be Martin Cummins except I’m not sure my abs would survive it! One of the most real people I’ve ever met. He doesn’t have one pretentious cell in his body. Speaking of which, something not many people know about him is he’s incredibly fit! That guy is absolutely ripped! Think of the most pretentious person you’ve ever met, and take out all the pretentiousness, and replace it with biceps. – Martin Cummins.
*Kavan Smith: He is a world-class, amazing storyteller. It’s a gift that can’t be fully appreciated even with the videos we make of him. He’s a rare, rare person. I could listen to him all day.
*Pascale Hutton: Is equally rare. How in the world did they “accidentally” land her and Kavan together?!! I’m not sure the show shouldn’t be what they say when the camera’s not rolling. Just in the short time I’ve been around them, they just start teasing each other and the rest of us just fade in the background. It’s something to see. She’s so funny and brilliant enough to keep up with Kavan. (Watch the Heartie’s Family Reunions some time. My gosh.) And she’s so genuine and real too. One of my favorite people that we interview, because her charm and authenticity is just palpable. It always, always, always ends up great. Love it.
*Jack Wagner: He’s such a Pro. It’s ridiculous. You ask him a question and you can see the wheels turning in his mind, then he comes out with these beautifully crafted answers that are always solid gold sound bites. He’s really funny too! But ridiculously, ridiculously talented, bordering on the unfair to normal people like me. It’s like being good at chin-ups and then you meet Spider Man.
*Paul Greene: So cool, so friendly, and so deep. A total philosopher. He should live on a mountain with a long beard where people hike 10,000 feet just to hear what he has to say. Or he could sing the words of wisdom too. Another ridiculously talented guy. We carry his CD at Edify Films, and I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with anyone more grateful and generous with their praise. Think of the meanest person you’ve ever met and replace it with kindness and biceps also- Paul Greene.
*Loretta Walsh: Put her at any barbecue in the United States, and there will be 4 people around her laughing. Super generous like so many of the cast. She’s amusing and amused at the same time which is like my favorite flavor of human. Plus it’s also elevated by this awesome Australian accent which is always so bazaar and unexpected when you follow the show.
*Andrea Brooks: Man. I love Andrea. I absolutely adore her. She just could not be any more warm and engaging and genuine and joyful. One of those people that never met a stranger. Her husband is the same way. They are the power couple of easy to be around. Mr. and Mrs. genuinely cool people. I want to hang out with them. They need to raffle that off for charity.
*Ben Rosenbaum: HE IS HILARIOUS! He’s also on my elevator list. He’s one of those guys that can effortlessly kill a room with just some side comment he barely meant to say. He’s another ab workout. If you haven’t seen his Hope Valley Highlights you’re missing out. They’re some of my favorites.
*Aren Buchholz: I don’t think I even want to know anybody that doesn’t like Aren Buchholz. He’s such a cool guy. He’s like everybody I would have ever wanted to hang out with in my youth. Totally self deprecating. Totally funny. Very easy. I’ve done interviews with him before and after we’re done, he’ll just hang out for 30 minutes just trying to get to know us. Clone him.
*Eva Bourne: Eva is like Aren. Just grounded, cool, super fun to be around. She’s got this really unique sense of humor. I’m not sure how to describe it. Watch the Hope Valley Highlight where she talks about her cat. At the time, I just remember thinking that she reminded me of every cool girl I remember in High School. You just come away wishing she was your kid sister or dating your kid brother so you could pretend she was your kid sister.
*Erin Krakow: She’s absolutely the real deal! She’s so genuine, so professional, so generous. One time, she had just finished filming the scene in Season 5 when she’s screaming “Jack!” like a million times. She had no voice left, but she kept running in between takes to interview with us. I love her more than she knows. I wish she wasn’t famous and lived in our town. She’d be one of those friends you’re always trying to get to come over for Thanksgiving.
HH: If you could pick a storyline for the show, what would it be?
*Well, for the sake of my sons the easy answer is someone gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Having said that, I love the idea of a bad guy defending the good, but still by being kind of bad. Basically, I’m a fan of Henry Gowen. I’d like to see him out villain a villain, in defense of Hope Valley. If it goes to fisticuffs, and Henry is allowed to channel his inner Martin Cummings, then the bad guy is going to need to spend some significant time recovering with Dr. Shepherd before he appears before Bill Avery.
HH: If YOU were a guest star on WCTH, who would you be?
*If Chandler from “Friends” is written to appear on When Calls the Heart, then I think we found my character!
HH: How did you FIND When Calls the Heart?
*I’ve been friends with Michael Landon Jr. and Brian Bird for a long time. I knew about the show before most people did.
HH: Did Edify Films come about as a result of WCTH, or did the company come first?
*I created the company first. I named it Edify because that means to spiritually build up – and that’s my whole outlook on entertainment. And I want everyone to feel uplifted. When Calls the Heart is nothing if not uplifting.
HH: What’s your favorite and most challenging part of running the company?
*Favorite: I’m in love with the effect of what I do. I like affecting people, putting a dent in the universe, leaving a mark. Someone can watch movies and television and lose themselves. They can feel inspired to be kinder, to do better, to be inspired to pursue things they would otherwise deem impossible. What’s cooler than that?
*Challenging: Like most people, trying to do it all, balancing my family life with work.
HH: What’s your process for deciding what ideas should become products?
*I try to make something that is good quality, and the majority of the Hearties would want, and still be able to afford. I’m naturally a pleaser and it’s always a challenge to hold myself back and not end up with a warehouse full of When Calls the Heart Roller Blades.
HH: Are there any big products, projects, or reveals coming up that we should watch out for?
*Well, the Season 6 Collector’s Edition is now available for pre-order (WhenCallsTheHeart.com). We have some other stuff we’re working on but I have to keep it off the record, but some of them are mind blowing! No one’s going to see these coming! (He shared 1 or 2 with me. I’m sworn to secrecy, but I can attest to the fact that he is totally right!)
HH: Lastly, how did Edify Films come to be?
*This could be a whole other interview, but I’ll summarize. Edify Films was initially Edify Media. Edify Media began in 2004 as a full service public relations and advertising agency with the purpose to promote and elevate films that would “Edify” (spiritually lift up) the world. I’ve personally worked doing publicity and promotion on everything from The Passion of the Christ to Thomas the Train to The Help. Eventually Edify started expanding more into production; movie trailers, behind the scenes elements, DVD authoring, etc. It was only natural that we move into distribution as well. That initiative gave birth to Edify Films. Our goal now is to promote, elevate, distribute and eventually create our own content to spiritually lift up the world. God willing that will be a future interview soon.
Isn’t he a hoot?! So, there we have it! The life of the Christmas party summed up in a few paragraphs…HA! As if that were possible! But we do know him a lot better now. You couldn’t hide behind those tea towels forever, Elliott! And speaking of which, time for the other part you’ve all been waiting for: OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY CONTEST! So, here’s how it works!
RULES AND TERMS:
1. At the bottom of this page, comment EITHER your favorite Hallmark Channel Christmas movie with a WCTH cast member, OR an idea for a #FanFictionFriday plot you’d like to see written. (Click the title of this post to access Comments. If you’re having trouble, comment on the Facebook or Twitter link.)
2. Only ONE entry per name please.
3. All entries must be in by TOMORROW, TUESDAY JULY 16TH at 5:00 PM CENTRAL STANDARD TIME.
4. One name will be chosen at random to win a FREE 3-pack of tea towels, courtesy of Edify Films and Elliott, and YOU even get to pick the color of font, (black or brown). Photo credit: Edify Films
5. The winner will be announced on Wednesday’s blog, so watch for it!
Have SO much fun with this, and good luck to you all! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!