Interview with Babylon 5 actress Julie Caitlin Brown

Interview with Babylon 5 actress Julie Caitlin Brown

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Over the weekend I attended Cyphan, a first year sci-fi/fantasy convention in Wheeling. While strolling the dealers room, I ran into actress Julie Caitlin Brown, who was just the nicest person ever. We started talking about my blog, sci-fi, technology, and somehow it turned into an interview! Thank goodness for having my audio recorder on me. It was a treat to talk to someone who genuinely loves what she does, and enjoys conventions and meeting fans. Check out the interview below.

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What brings you here to Cyphan?
I've been an actor or writer/producer for the last almost 30 years. The reason I'm at Cyphan today, I was on Babylon 5, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Sliders, and I have a new movie coming out called All About Evil. It's going to be the next Rocky Horror Picture Show people! It stars Thomas Dekker, Natasha Lyonne, and Mink Stole.

Did you write this movie or are you in it?
I'm in it. I am Tammy Tennis who dies with a pen to the neck. It's a great campy, black comedy horror film. John Waters' protege, Joshua Grannell wrote and directed. It's fabulous! Check it out at AllAboutEvilTheMovie.com

What else are you up to?
I also manage celebrities for personal appearances. After I was doing these events myself years ago, I realized that no one was really managing the talent at these events.

Like getting into contact with the conventions, and doing all the work to communicate with the actors?
Exactly, and really trying to find some kind of boilerplate basis for the contracts. It was pretty hit or miss. It was like "What do you want to do?....I don't know, well what do you want to do?" It needed to be brought into a more streamlined business. So, I built a company called Illumina Productions in 1997. I work with about 80 events all over the world, and I manage exclusively a little over 40 talent, and I have another 40 that I work with on a part-time basis.

So when someone gets you for an event like Cyphan, are you managing yourself or do you have someone who manages you?
I decided that I really wasn't going to appear at these things very much anymore, and every once in a while there is a scenario that is appropriate. I'm here looking after my actors. I can't really be sitting here meeting my fans, doing Q&As, and parties. However, the two young ladies that are here with me at Cyphan, Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica), and Jewel Staite (Firefly, Serenity, Stargate: Atlantis), they are very self-sufficient, very assertive young women.  They were both quite comfortable with me appearing as well.

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Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica), and Jewel Staite (Firefly/Serenity)

So usually, are you at the tables with your clients, or are you just available to them? How does that work?
I usually don't sit with my talent. When I do Dragon*Con for example,  I'll bring in like 10 actors or so, and I have 17 staff members I bring with me. I oversee the staff, and I just mind the store basically. I make sure the contracts are enforced, and I'm there to make sure that everybody is getting what they bargained for. Are the fans having a great time? Is the promoter on track? I'm there to troubleshoot. I don't go to every event. I can't. I would be traveling everyday.

What do you think of Cyphan?
I just love Chicago, and I hadn't done an appearance here since 1997. I thought "Oh my god! Let's go back!" I love it. I think Cyphan has hit a lot of right notes. I think that their infrastructure is very good. Their staff is just loving, and they know what they're doing. Everyone's willing to work hard. I think the Dealers Room is quite unique. They've got a lot of great pieces here. And the costumes...I'm very impressed with the level of craftsmanship that I'm seeing, just from the fans! I love to see the little kids. These little tiny darlings, in their costumes, feeling like it's still Halloween. Even the guys who are well into their 50s and 60s dress up, it's great.

You do a lot of sci-fi stuff. Is that something you actively pursue, or do you think it's typecasting?
I'm 6 feet tall, I'm athletic, we kind of lend ourselves to the kick-ass sci-fi characters. Sigourney Weaver is about 10 years older than me, and I was the cheap version of Sigourney Weaver. After Alien came out, when I got to Hollywood after doing Broadway....I'm a character actress, and the sci-fi model worked for women of my size.

Is the sci-fi genre something you are a fan of before you got into it?
Oh god, yeah!

So it was somewhat of a dream come true?
I loved science fiction. I remember watching Star Trek as a kid, and thinking it would be cool to be in that world. When I got on Star Trek, I was beside myself. Oh my god! Transporter beams! I was just in heaven, and I'd never done prosthetics before! My first role was Ty Kajada in Deep Space Nine, in an episode called The Passenger. Then I came back in a two-parter called Gambit in The Next Generation. Once I got on Babylon 5, I was in a full face mask and a cowl. That makeup took 3 and a half hours.

I think sci-fi is amazing. Then you see movies like I-Robot, and it makes you a little afraid of technology.
It's a warning. I think we look at sci-fi and we want to be uplifted. We want to be inspired that maybe our future is going to be better, and that we're going to learn from our past. I think great sci-fi shows use that to tell us we need to still be human.

I agree. We're living in an age right now, where technology is rapidly advancing, and we might be losing some of the control, and our humanity. We're at the point now where our entire lives are in our pockets [pointing at her Blackberry].
I think it's scary, unless there is balance. That comes down to parenting. Parents don't teach children to get their hands dirty, go play in the dirt, and not put a computer in their hands for a while. Let them learn how to be human and interact, and then introduce the video games. These 4-year-olds playing video games...are you kidding me!? They haven't learned their social skills yet.

That's another reason why I love these conventions so much. People who maybe spend their lives in front of computers, or playing video games, get out and interact with eachother. It's wonderful.

 

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  • Wow this is really informative. I didn't know that there was that much background work to bring in celebrities.

    I also like her views on Sci-Fi, and balance in technology... I wish I could end up on a show similar to how she got on Star Trek, but I'm not even REMOTELY an actor, lol

  • In reply to Crossosphinx:

    She's obviously someone who LOVES what she does. And she seems to take sci-fi seriously, which is sooo refreshing. A lot of the technology and stuff in fiction is quickly becoming a reality.

    I think it would be totally awesome to be on a sci-fi-type show lol.

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