My name is Alison Flierl (Alie for short). My goals remain the same as when I was five: to be a mermaid and a writer. I co-created the hit web series "TV Guide Letter Theater," have a new entertainment podcast (available on iTunes, called "2 Degrees of Alie") and I work at #Conan.
In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with writer/director Sanjeev Sirpal (“Screw Cupid,” “iHeart,” “Lovepocalypse,”). You can currently find one of his films, “Screw Cupid,” on Sundance, IFC and Amazon. We talk about everything from writing about dirty cops to surviving working at an agency to directing an independent feature.
SANJEEV SIRPAL’S BIO
Sanjeev Sirpal, like 90 percent of all first generation Indian-Americans, was born near Chicago, IL and was immediately accepted into med-school. The details of his upbringing in sunny South Florida are captivating and poetic and were adapted into a series of successful films starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.
Since watching Back To The Future at an early age, Sanjeev always knew that he wanted to make movies, and drive a Delorean, and he has been obsessed with them (movies that is, Deloreans turn like they’re underwater) ever since. He cannot ever remember where he parked but he can quote Spaceballs from start to finish. He broke up with a girlfriend on-site because she told him she didn’t like The Matrix. The only movie he has ever cried at was Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. For some reason, when the ant was killed he lost it. It is still a touchy subject.
Sanjeev can discuss Roland Barthe’s Third Meaning as it relates to cinema at length and at the same time, will always think that the word “poop” is funny.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in literary journalism and a minor in disappointing his parents, Sanjeev took a job with the Associated Press covering the Cops and Courts beat for the Southeast (lots and lots of meth labs). Sanjeev figured he had two choices: Go on a cross-country series of daring adventures, righting wrongs and capturing the hearts of women everywhere, or move to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer. Due to his aversion to planning and a small bladder, he chose the latter.
Sanjeev’s first film, SCREW CUPID, a romantic comedy Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times called “crisply written and full of wit,” and ReelTalk dubbed “a winner,” was made for less than Chris Evans’ codpiece budget for THE AVENGERS and screened at the Delray Beach International Film Festival (AUDIENCE AWARD - BEST FEATURE), Florida Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival, and Seattle International Film Festival before being purchased by the Sundance Channel and IFC.
When he’s not writing, Sanjeev enjoys revising his bio and elaborately setting up carefully controlled, extreme backgrounds to make his profile pictures look badass.
In this podcast, I have the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Darryl Gudmundson. If you’ve ever laughed while watching a video on Funny Or Die, you probably owe that laugh to Darryl who serves as the Director of Digital Programming for the comedy site. We talk about everything from having Michael Shannon read a sorority girl’s letter to Cat Video Festivals to meeting Will Ferrell.
DARRYL GUDMUNSON’S BIO
Darryl Gudmundson is the Director of Digital Programming at Funny Or Die, where he oversees and curates FunnyOrDie.com. He also assists in the production of anywhere from 25-50 videos a month and is also a contributing producer of Funny Or Die’s digital magazine, The Occasional. He can’t be president because he was born in Costa Rica, he is a graduate of Ithaca College, currently resides in Los Angeles, loves the internet, music, taking pictures and high fiving.
Chuck Schwager has 40+ years experience in healthcare management. He was kind enough to tell me it was cool to post his recent Facebook status, which I found very informative and insightful. It’s worth a read:
IN CHUCK’S WORDS;
I have been involved in healthcare management for over 40 years and I thought to explain a bit about the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). The Act is not a government takeover - it calls for the setting up of health exchanges that are a marketplace for insurance companies to sell insurance to individuals. The exchanges were to be set up by the States but some States have decided to opt out and let the federal government set up the exchange. This is as far as the government is involved - establishing an insurance marketplace. There is no mandate by the government, either state or federal, that interferes with a patient’s choice of doctor. The consumer buys an insurance plan just like they did prior to the Act - but the consumer is able to get a better deal for the premium.
For example, the insurance companies must agree, in order to participate in the exchanges, to certain requirements such as a pre-existing medical condition is not a barrier to buying insurance, certain preventive health measures must be covered, and things like that which have been missing from many health insurance plans. The consumer receives a card from the insurance company proving coverage and this card is presented to the doctor’s office or hospital just like prior to the Act.
Insurance companies set the rates, not the government, but the government did set a maximum on deductibles. Deductibles are the amount of money a covered patient must pay before the insurance company begins paying. The maximum is about $6,000. It is expected that young, healthy people will opt for the high deductible plans.
The reason purchasing insurance has been mandated by the Act is that the insurance companies insisted on it. And it is understandable why they did insist on it on order to support the passage of the Act. Unless younger and healthier people sign up, insurance companies fear they will lose money by paying out in bills more than they take in premiums. This is an idea championed by Republicans and Insurance Companies that as part of the compromise to get the Act passed was agreed to by the Democrats.
People whose income is lower than certain levels are eligible for subsidies to make buying a policy affordable. For the very poor, the Act made the Medicaid program 100% reimbursable to the States (Medicaid, unlike Medicare for the elderly, is a joint venture between the States and the Federal Government. Massachusetts currently receives 50% reimbursement under Medicaid while poorer states may receive up to 90%) for 3 years and 90% reimbursable after that. Some states have refused to opt into this deal for reasons that are not clear to me. All of these States are governed by Republicans. Thus, many people will remain ineligible for health insurance because they cannot afford to buy a plan on the exchange even with subsidies.
If you have insurance through an employer, you are not affected by the Exchanges. In effect, most of the employees will not notice any change. An employer of more than 50 people working over 30 hours per week is required to provide health insurance for the employees. The vast majority of such employers already do so. Some critics suggest that such employers will decrease their staff of full time people to 29 hours to avoid this requirement. As the Act has not yet been implemented there is no data to prove this one way or the other. I assume some employers will do so but my guess is that the vast majority of employers will not. Time will tell. I was personally in favor of a so-called Single Payer Plan such Medicare for the elderly and what the Congress is covered by. In this type of plan – such as is seen in England, Canada, and many other countries – there is not competition by insurance companies to cover patients. Given that the Affordable Care Act is a system well within the principle of free enterprise and capitalism, I fail to see that freedom is imperiled. It is not perfect and will need several years to make things work better. It is a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, and deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court. The law can be amended to fix any problems that arise. It deserves a chance.