I recently had the opportunity to interview the quirky and awesome Julie Wilhelm. Julie is a personal friend of Geeky KOOL. Julie stars in the web series DIRIGIBLE DAYS as Josie.
I met Julie last year at Project: Comic Con in St. Louis. Julie was enthusiastic and charming right away. She introduced me to their plans for DIRIGIBLE DAYS. She was equally interested in me and Geeky KOOL. We had an instant geek connection.
Earlier this week, Julie was gracious to take time out of her busy schedule for an interview with me. Check it out below.
(GK- Geeky KOOL, JW- Julie Wilhelm)
GK: For our readers that haven’t yet watched Dirigible Days, tell us about this web series.
JW: It is a Steampunk (a subculture of Science Fiction) themed series in which we follow the crew of the S.S. Beatrix (an airship, or, dirigible) on their adventures. This season focuses on taking down a dangerous and powerful cult leader.
GK: Are you personally into the Steampunk subculture or was Dirigible Days just a role you were playing?
JW: I do like the aesthetic of steampunk. And I like how broad the spectrum is. You can incorporate it into anything, really. H.G. Well’s time machine helps with that! I was one of those people who liked it but didn’t know it had a name.
GK: What initially got you interested in Steampunk and what continues to hold your imagination with this subculture?
JW: I have always loved vintage everything. But Gary and I met James, our creator, through Jeff, Hooper, and James is good friends with the Saint Louis Steampunk Community which has monthly gatherings. We went to one of these and were hooked! It’s so much fun because people have fun with it. It’s very creative and full of art and we are creative people so we love seeing the costume designs and the sets for photoshoots and the props people come up with. We of course had to come up with costumes. Gary came up with his Salazar costume and I came up with Madame Marceline; a mechanimal expert who works with the circus.
GK: The Steampunk culture has a reputation in other geek circles for being snotty and self righteous. Have you found this to be the norm with Steampunk or is that a bad reputation?
JW: I actually didn’t know that! We like all sorts of nerdy stuff so our geek bubble is pretty broad. But the steampunk people here in STL are great and everyone on our FB page is FANtastic and we’ve met so many phenomenal people. The community has been good to us overall thus far.
GK: I have also found the reputation to be a false reputation with my experiences. Any geek subculture can have their own self righteous indignation. I know I have seen it a little bit in the Comic geek culture at times but this is not the majority. I think that is probably true of the Steampunk culture. Sure there are those that are pompous but that is not the majority.
I thought your acting for this series was really good. Since you played a key role in this web series, what is your acting background?
JW: None! Ha! But when there are 4 people who are doing to do a project for fun, you just do it. We had no idea it would get this popular so we didn’t even think to find “actors”. So yes, acting is ‘stiff’ as we’ve heard a few times, but you’re stuck with us. : ) We’re working on it.
GK: Most actors bring a piece of themselves into their roles. How do you view yourself in comparison to the character of Josie?
JW: She’s a bit rough a tumble, which I’m really not. We are both smartie pants, though! I love that about her.
GK: You have written a book, tell us about the story and where people can pick up a copy.
JW: It’s a general fantasy novel. Witches, werewolves, dragons, giraffes, you know. The norm. Mother Nature has been personified by the fact that she has separated herself from the actual earth and that means that the world is crumbling. The one guy who could save everything by killing her loves her so it is up to our hero and heroine to save the day!
GK: The proceeds from the book go to a worthy project, tell us about it.
JW: I am giving 100% of my profit to local animal rescue! Or, I guess any rescue that helps out! I’m not pocketing ANY money off this book!
GK: Your husband is Gary Lobstein, who directed Dirigible Days and plays Salazar Strega. How is it to act with your husband directing you?
JW: Well, sometimes, I’m surprised we’re still married! No, no, he put on a lot of hats for this project so it was stressful for him. Everyone had to work hard and do a lot of things. One shoot, it was just me, Jeff, James and Gary and Gary was on screen so he had to act, direct, run camera, lights and sound because the rest of us are clueless about the technical aspects! He also edited for hours on end, made the cast and crew schedules and did a lot of the special effects. I’m very proud of him! I’m proud of all of us for getting this done!
GK: You and Gary own Day 304 Production. Tell us about Day 304.
JW: Day304 is the production Company that Gary and I own. We have done a few short flicks, some weddings and, of course, Dirigible Days. Gary and I were married on Halloween and (besides leap year) Halloween is the 304th day of the year. The t-rex in the logo is just because t-rexes are awesome.
GK: That is really KOOL. I had no idea it was related to either Halloween or you anniversary.
You are correct that T-Rexes are awesome. I have love dinosaurs since I was a little boy.
I understand that you and Gary (and maybe some of the cast of Dirigible Days) will be attending various conventions this year. What conventions have you confirmed your attendance.
JW: Unfortunately we cannot go to all of the conventions. We will be personally attending the ones in St. Louis. We have submitted to several but have yet to hear back from many. Fingers crossed! We are having screenings a the following…
We will be at Kawa Kon in STL – February 8-10 screening and fan table on Saturday
We have a screening at the Wild Wild West Con March 8-10.
We have not heard back from Wizard World St. Louis – March 22-24 but are hoping for a screening!
We will be screened atThe High Seas Steampunk Film Festival – March 16-23.
Anime St. Louis – April 12-14 – will be screening.
C2E2 (Chicago) – April 26-28 . Hoping to get a screening! But we will be going regardless to have an awesome time!
Cosplacon, Jeff City, MO – June 27-30 , will be screening
Rose City Steampunk Film Festival in Portland OR will screen us as well.
And of course, we’ll be at Project Comic Con in St. Louis in Sept.
GK: In Dirigible Days, a Cthulhu Cult plays a key role in the plot of this season. The Cthulhu is associated with H.P. Lovecraft and his writing. Are you a fan of Lovecraft? Did you read up on Lovecraft and the Cthulhu for your role?
JW: Gary is actually the big Lovecraft fan. He designed his character Salazar around the mythos. James, being the writer, actually had to do some reading and some research to add authenticity into the script. I’ve read some stuff and enjoy the mythos. And who doesn’t love Cthulhu?
GK: Beyond Steampunk and H.P. Lovecraft, what other geeky movies, series, games, books, or activities are you interested in?
JW: Oh my! Well? I am a Disney geek for sure. I love Pluto. I have an entire room devoted to him. I am also a Phantom of the Opera nerd. I have Lashina, Killer Moth and Riddler costumes from the DC universe that I’ve worn to conventions. I love dressing up! I love the challenge of making costumes. Especially since I can’t sew its tough! I love everything and anything to do with dinosaurs. They will never be not cool! We’ve come across SO many fantastic books and comics since this whole thing started. Comics are Footprints by Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore, Cryto Zo-inks by Heidi Arnhold, to name a couple. I got a copy of the first Temeraire book at C2E2 a couple of years ago and am HOOKED! By Naomi Novak. I love harry Potter, the books, movies and lego games! I beat Miss Pacman when was young. Dont know if I could do it again but I love that game! I dabble with some jewelry making and started an etsy page last year as well. I just need to always be doing something creative or I’m pretty sure I would explode.
GK: No one can accuse you of being one of the mythological fake geek girls. You have a ton of great and fun interests. No wonder you are always busy.
Now back to a question about Dirigible Days. Episode Five of Dirigible Days had an open ending where the story could continue. Are there a plan for a season two of Dirigible Days?
JW: Ah, the money question. Honestly, Larry, I don’t know. It has and continues to be an emotional, exhausting road. There have been tons of positive things too. We’ve met some terrific people and groups. All I can say is that we are talking about it. James has enough material for 3 seasons. It’s no secret, but it is a time thing, like, do we have enough with our personal lives. We’re not making any money off of this venture so, as with any labor of love, you have to be able to justify fitting it into your schedule. A book or a graphic novel might also be a possibility. We’re just taking a break at the moment and focusing on getting season one out there.
GK: If things work out and Season 2 of the web series becomes a reality, do you think I could get a walk on role for a web episode for next season? I do have some acting experience from High School and College.
JW: Haha! Sure Larry. We can fit you into season 2 if we do it. You probably have more experience acting than the rest of us combined!
GK: Thank you once again Julie. We are hopeful that Dirigible Days will have a second season and I would love to show up on an episode.
You can check out Julie, DIRIGIBLE DAYS, and Day 304 Productions on these various web locations:
DIRIGIBLE DAYS Youtube Page
DIRIGIBLE DAYS Facebook
Day 304 Productions
Day 304 Productions Films
Day 304 Productions Facebook
Gary Lobstein Youtube Page
May Woods Chronicles Facebook
Lulu Publishing- Rex and Ruby