About Us

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk, England on February 9th, 1737 to an Anglican Mother and Quaker Farther. The Quaker philosophy of equality and simplicity of worship influenced him for the rest of his life. When he sailed for the Colonies at age 37 his only real accomplishment was his ability to debate. Arriving in Philadelphia, he began to write, and his “Common Sense” ignited the American Revolution and the “American Crises” papers inspired it through its darkest days. Sailing to France he soon found himself at the center of the French Revolution, which he defined with his “Rights of Man, Parts First and Second”. England found him guilty of sedition, punishable by hanging had he not escaped to France, where he went from hero to prisoner in Paris and barely escaped the guillotine. He wrote “Age of Reason, Parts First and Second”, his great critique of organized religion and the Bible, and would never be forgiven by many of his former admirers. His “Agrarian Justice” would be echoed 140 years later with the New Deal. He returned to American in 1802 and died on June 7th, 1809. He was one of the world’s greatest propagandists and worst politicians, a very nearly deadly combination more than once in his extraordinary life. 

Ian Ruskin
Writer and Actor

Ian Ruskin trained as an actor in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and then worked for the next 15 years in England in repertory companies, London’s West End, and in television and film. Highlights included working in the Laurence Olivier “King Lear” for Granada Television, playing Jack in “Jack the Ripper” at the Players Theatre, London and performing the one-man play "The Man Himself," written by Alan Drury, at the Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster (a repertory theatre), the Soho Poly in London and at Stages Theater in Hollywood, where it was Critics Choice in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and other magazines.

He came to Los Angeles in 1985. A pattern developed of guest star roles, usually playing the intelligent bad guy, in shows such as “Murder She Wrote”, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”, and “MacGyver.” While this work paid the rent, it did not in any way fulfill his dream as a student at RADA – to be involved in work that would affect an audience. As a student and young actor in repertory theatre he performed in great plays – Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Coward, Pinter, Miller – and the work of the most exciting new playwrights – plays that could not only move audiences but could shine a light on their shared humanity and give them something to reflect on as they went home. This was not happening on the sound stage of “MacGyver.“affect”

In 1994 he was cast to play a real-life character by the name of Harry Bridges and his life changed. He discovered that Bridges was an extraordinary labor leader and social visionary, a man whose beliefs and values inspired him. The cast performed a reading for Bridges’ union, the ILWU, and received a ten-minute standing ovation. Ian realized that he had found a way to “affect” again. The play with its twelve actors was too expensive to mount as a production, but as a one-man play….So Ian wrote his one-man play "From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks", which had its world premieres at the University of Washington Summer Arts Festival and at the Warner Grand Theatre, San Pedro. He has since performed it nearly 200 times to approximately 50,000 people. This led to a film of a live performance, directed by legendary filmmaker Haskell Wexler, which aired across America on PBS last year, making it available to 150 million Americans. 
Then, on a trip to the East Coast performing "From Wharf Rats…" he discovered Thomas Paine….
To visit Ian Ruskin's website, please go to: www.ianruskin.org

Elliott Gould

Actor Elliott Gould is known for a iconic body of work which includes MASH, Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice, A Bridge Too Far, Capricorn One, The Lady Vanishes, The Long Goodbye, Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen and Contagion, among many others. He appeared in ten seasons of Friends, has hosted Saturday Night Live six times and was on the cover of Time Magazine twice. This is his second collaboration with Ian, and both of them share a commitment to their union and the American labor movement.

June Stoddard

June Stoddard stepped forward as Producing Partner to Ian Ruskin for the Los Angeles run of "To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine", finishing the run with performances in London, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and at Conway Hall. Inspired from the very start by Ian’s portrayal of Paine she dedicated herself to bringing an audience to the play through reviews, social media, and networks of theatre lovers succeeding in filling the theatres and earning reviews from the LA Times, and many more publications.
June then moved forward to create and manage the successful Paine Film - Indiegogo campaign and has continued to be producing partner to Ian throughout the development, filming, and distribution process of the film. When not backstage June is president of JS Executive Search. June is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and ACT-SF.

Keith Robinson, Motion Arts, Inc.

Keith was in charge of technical effects for David Bowie's “Sound and Vision Tour,” which required the synchronous interfacing of Mr. Bowie's performance with forty-foot film projections, and in charge of technical effects and projections for “Sinatra at the London Palladium”, supervising the production on behalf of the New York production company Running Subway and for Sinatra Enterprises. Mr. Robinson has maintained a creative environment accessed by both independents and studios, including sixteen Academy Award winners. Always a pioneer in the post-production process, he built the first digital audio mixing and sound editing facility in New York for film and video. He discovered the raw footage of the event known as “The Rumble in the Jungle” and resurrected the project, leading to "When We Were Kings," the 1997 Academy Award winner in the feature-length documentary category.

Daniel P. Castillo
Sound and Graphic Design

Daniel P. Castillo was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the inner cities of Los Angeles. As a young child he loved art, and as he matured he chose to follow a career path that would allow him to use his gifts as an artist. His passion for film led him to study at The Art Institute of California- Los Angeles, where he graduated with honors, achieving a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Video Production and Digital Filmmaking. As a student, he realised his talents as a cinematographer, editor, scriptwriter and overall filmmaker. Daniel's passion and talents have landed him great opportunities in the industry. He plans to continue to make films with meaning and hopes to use his gifts to inspire other innercity youth and artists who seek to pursue their talents and dreams.

To visit Daniel P. Castillo's personal website, please go to: www.dieselproductionz.com

 Jessica Richards Production Assistant

Jessica started working in professionally in regional theatre at the age of 14, and has never looked back. Favorite credits include: Will Rogers Follies, As it is in Heaven, King Lear,and the PBS/UNC-TV broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing where she was fortunate enough to perform Hero alongside the U.S. Premiere of Korngold's wonderful score. BFA Acting North Carolina School of the Arts. Apprentice with Williamstown Theatre Festival, and intern with Morman/Boling Casting. www.jessica-richards.com

Sean Smith
Historian and Web Developer

Sean Smith is a historian and lecturer at California State University, Long Beach. His research interests include the 19th and 20th century California and the American west. For the past decade he has been actively involved in both digital history and digital pedogogies. During that time he was awarded an NEH grant for his work on the Elizabeth Murray Project, and several California State University grants for his work in curriculum redesign using technology. He has been a part of the Harry Bridges and the Life of Thomas Paine projects, since the beginning.