Archive for March, 2011


MCGUIRE: An interview with Pardis Parker

On Feb. 19, I attended night two of the Young Professionals event “The Big Dam Film Festival.” The film festival was held at The State Room, and it was fantastic. The selections that evening were a variety of short films. There was a little bit of everything in the featured shorts, from dramatic to comedic, the night was very entertaining. My personal favorite of the evening was called “Afghan,” by Pardis Parker. The quick wit and creativity of the main characters kept the audience laughing but all the while “Afghan,” took an honest look at racism and xenophobia, and the harm it can cause.

In the end the majority of the crowd agreed with my selection because “Afghan,” won the People’s Choice Award. The career of Pardis Parker is moving quickly with many new projects in the works, but the self described performer and creator took some time to answer a few questions about his career thus far.

Pardis Parker, Photo Credit: Husayn Eblaghi

Pardis Parker

How would you describe your career?

A series of baby steps.

What kind of background do you have with film-making?

None. Afghan was the first film I ever made and I learned about filmmaking while making the film.


Where do you draw your influences for your work?

I honestly don’t know. I watch everything Hollywood puts out. Certainly there are filmmakers that I admire more than others — Aronofsky, Mendes, Nolan, Boyle. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good Michael Bay film.

What in your life made you want to make films? At what point did you realize performing, writing, and film- making was your calling?

I’ve wanted to make films since probably junior high, but culturally it was something that was discouraged until I dove in and made something on my own that actually found a little success. That sort of opened the door for me to escape the criticism I would have been receiving otherwise.

“Afghan” was recently selected as the People’s Choice at the Big Dam Film Festival, among numerous other awards at different festivals. What do you think makes it so appealing; what do you attribute to its success?

I don’t know. My suspicion is that most people find it appealing simply because it’s an honest film. I don’t know. You tell me.

What projects do you have on the horizon?

I’ve got this Bollywood short that I’m shooting for Bravo and a romantic comedy with no dialogue that I’m shooting for CBC, plus I’ve got an animated TV series that I’m developing with a production company in LA and a feature comedy that I’m pitching around. Busy busy.

Please finish this sentence: If I was not creating and performing I would be-

Depressed and frustrated that I couldn’t find happiness or meaning in whatever else I was doing.

Word Association
a.      Acidic: Lemon
b.      Renegade: Lorenzo Lamas
c.      Yack: Yak
d.      Pious: Priest
e.      Scallops: White
f.      Minuet: French

What are your five desert island films?

That’s tough. It’s always changing. “Cast Away,” “The Matrix,” “The Assassination of Jesse James” by the Coward Robert Ford, “There Will Be Blood,” and “Michael Clayton.” That’s a good start.

You are handed a phone and get to call your 16-year-old self. You get 15 seconds on the line, what do you say? GO!

Do what you want to do.

To find out more about Pardis, or watch more of his videos visit

Jacob McGuire

MCGUIRE: How to become a millionare — in 2,740 years

The other day I was watching Noah Baumbach’s movie titled “Kicking and Screaming,” (not the Will Ferrell Soccer thing) and there was a scene in the movie where the friends were all in a bar arguing over the titles of all of the “Friday the 13th” movies.

It blew my mind for a second as I wondered why they did not just look it up on someone’s smart phone. Then I realized this was 1995. It is so weird to me that there was a time when trivia arguments at the bar could not be settled by a quick cell phone internet search. I have seen those large phones Zach Morris owns, despite the comically huge stature there is not so much as a Google Search bar on them. What were the other options; have the answer paged to you? That is not how a pager works is it? Did people just agree to disagree, write the question down, research it later then rub the answer in their friends face the next day? Not for me. I need to instantly rub in the correct answer of which actor played Grand Moff Tarkin in “Star Wars IV.” (Peter Cushing)[*Writer’s note to men: knowledge of “Star Wars” cannot help you get women, in fact it most likely can hurt any small chance you might have had.

What I am getting at is that thanks to new technology we are living in an age of instant gratification. Any information we would like is right at our fingertips, it is nearly impossible to not get contacted by someone that wants to contact you. My phone was broken for a week last year and it was difficult at first but I soon grew to like not being available to everyone at anytime. When someone says “hey why didn’t you text me back,” instead of having to act all confused and be like “oh dumb phone, I do not know if I got that message.” I could just tell them I have no phone.

So information is everywhere and more accessible than ever before. There are even text message answering services for those without internet on their phone. A popular free text message answering service is called Cha Cha. To use Cha Cha simply text any question to the number 242242. Usually within minutes you will receive an advertisement, then the answer; many times it’s correct sometimes it comes out of left field…but you get what you paid for.

I had just watched “The Social Network,” and felt like a loser if I was not using the internet to make money so I looked into working for the question answering service known as Cha Cha. I had heard that Cha Cha pays anyone with an internet connection to sit at their computer anytime they are available and answer the incoming questions. Becoming a Cha Cha question answerer or as we call in the biz an “expeditor” turned out to be a longer process than clicking: Start.

You begin the process by visiting From there you can begin the tutorial. There are several training videos you have to watch each ranging from 8 minutes to 26 minutes. At the end of each video you have to pass a test about that video (to prove that you were not playing Angry Birds during the videos, as I was). The videos show you the quickest way to answer the incoming texts using cha cha’s interactive search site. They have it set up to be able to directly search the web, search frequently asked questions, or type in your own answer. After going through all of the training videos that cover every single aspect of the process, you have to take the final test, which is answering 10 incoming texts. It is nerve racking at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite easy.

I took the test and what was supposed to be four to six days, became a month later, Cha Cha contacted me saying congratulations you are a Cha Cha expeditor. So I began my conquest earning .02 cents a question. It is nice because you can get on anytime you would like and just start answering questions while watching television. Sometimes there are really interesting questions and you learn a new fact. Sometimes the question is “Hey if you are a girl, will you give me your number.” Either way every answer is .02 cents added to the account that I can eventually cash in. So far in a week after going about 30-45 minutes a day I am up to $7.00. I know that does not seem like a lot but it is money earned while I watch TV. Right now, I figure if I can earn a dollar a day from this, eventually in 4.17 years I will have enough to buy my $1,500 dream from Ebay; The “Baywatch” Pinball machine.

It's Glorious

So if you are interested in purchasing a “Baywatch” Pinball machine in 4.17 years join me as a guide on Cha Cha. Or just get a real job — lame.

Jacob McGuire