Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Videoblogs: Why We’re Doing It (10 Reasons)

It's on.

It’s on.

My first film was a crime drama about a thug whose past mistakes catch up to him. My second? A crime drama about a two detectives and a confessed murderess who go up against a corrupt district attorney. Multiverse is as much scifi as it is drama — although as you can hopefully see there’s a lot more going on under the surface than what is presupposed by constraints of genre.

My point is that, if I wanted to, I could go out tomorrow and make something that pulses and thrills. But I don’t want to do that. Not yet. Very soon, I may want to do that, but not now.

Here’s why I want to do something else. In ten reasons, boiled down.

Here’s why we’re making a tiny, quiet film about mental health and reaching out through The Screen — about starting off painfully alone and ending up surrounded by friends — instead:

  1. This is how we feel. Feeling is everything. I used to be someone who professed this, a bit pretentiously, but I never actually believed it before now. There is what we do, and then there are the feelings behind what we do — which, for better or worse, dictate the whys of our life. Why we are who we are. Why we are where we are (and, to circle back, why we do what we do). Sometimes, in reflecting on all this, we view what we are and, dissatisfied, we seek change.
  2. We seek change. We face challenges of racism, sexism, faithlessness, hopelessness, and institutionalized injustice, here and now, today, in contemporary America. These challenges, in my opinion, are rooted half in denial or despair (on the part of the populace) and half in apathy or willful subjugation (on the part of those in control).
  3. We seek clarity. Despite all this, we believe people are inherently good — or at least inherently neutral on a moral scale. We believe much of the collective pain that blocks us from progress is obstructing paths to awareness.
  4. We seek awareness. There is no point to yelling into the crowd. The crowd is not listening. Instead, we must engage. We must dialogue. We must share our fear, our anger, and our pain.
  5. We seek a dialogue. There can be no progress without understanding. Everyone must feel heard, and all expressions exhausted, so that the paths to redemption may be cleared of obstruction, confusion, or deceit.
  6. We seek redemption. Raymond Chandler once wrote: “In everything that can be called art, there is a quality of redemption”. We believe art, and particularly the medium of the moving image, via it’s dominant position in cultural communications — is the vehicle by which redemption can be sought.
  7. We seek to make art. This is, in all honesty, all we know how to do. To quote the inimitable Marc Marc: “There is no Plan B“.
  8. We seek your patronage. This is a fact of the artist-audience arrangement. Ours is an interdependent relationship. We make films so that we can share them with you. This takes a great deal of hard work and sacrifice. We’re asking that, based on past results, you trust us enough to pre-purchase advanced access to a copy of our film so that we can get it made and then get it to you, as quickly as possible. Just contributing at all guarantees that you can watch it eventually on Seed and Spark. For $10, you can own a copy. We appreciate any and all contributions.
  9. We seek your help in growing our message. No large undertaking of note can be undertaken without participation in large numbers. If you like what we’re doing, and especially if you’re interested enough to pay for advanced access to our artistic product — we ask that you tell any friends and family who you think may be interested.
  10. We seek the grail. Partially, this last note is a test to see who lasted all the way to the bottom of the list. But, in all honesty — no matter how brazen or stupid the aspiration may sound — we do seek the grail. We believe in the possibility of an America where artist and audience remain in direct contact first and foremost, beholden only to each other, with few middlemen in between to dilute or corrupt messaging. We aspire to be able to participate in such a relationship in a sustainable way, wherein we may someday soon be able to make a living from doing our job, which is, again — making movies for you.

And that’s the story of this story. Hopefully this is all the beginning. Regardless, we do appreciate your time, your contributions, and your help in letting the world know that we aren’t completely satisfied with the status quo.

But we do have hope for change. Don’t we?

Thanks for being you. Please help us make our movie if you can.

liam_sscamp

The Videoblogs Monologues, Part 2: “Billy”

Our second videoblog monologue

In his last videoblog, Billy determines to get help.

Hello, friends and supporters!

Here is Part 2 of our Videoblogs Monologues project. As a refresher, this side-project is being being produced in order to illustrate what we’re aiming to do not only with The Videoblogs but also “Phase 2” of our project. Basically, we’re trying to contribute to a greater dialogue on mental health, while also advocating for the positive use of technology for personal expression.

At the same time, we’re looking to collaborate with other writers and performers to just make stuff 🙂

Many thanks to Robert Dillon for submitting this script, to Rebecca DeOrnelas for directing and Alex Hollock for shooting. And of course our thanks go out to actor Bobby Brower.

We hope you enjoy it. Please Share/Comment/Like/Tweet if you do!

In our second Videoblog Monologue, college student Billy comes to terms with the state of depression he has been facing.

It's on.

It’s on.

The Videoblogs is an indie feature film about a struggling young woman whose life takes a surprise turn when a troubled teen finds her private video journal. We are currently crowdfunding.

Casting Announcement: Phoebe Allegra

Writing in with a quick informational update on The Videoblogs — this time to do with casting!

There are three main characters in the film, and today we’re excited to introduce you to the wonderful (and wonderfully talented) actress Phoebe Allegra, who will be playing Vee, a young college student struggling to survive her last years at home before striking out on her own in New York City.

headshot for phoebe

Phoebe will be playing Vee in The Videoblogs. She’s great. We’re excited.

Phoebe delivered a powerful couple of audition scenes during casting, particularly at her callback, when the room got quiet after her performance. Possibly some tears were shed.

So, obviously, Rebecca and I are really looking forward to working with Phoebe. More info about her career to this point appears below.

Please join us in welcoming Phoebe to the team! You can also follow her on Twitter here.

— 

BIO

Phoebe Allegra is a young actress currently based in New York City. Born and raised in the small town of Pell City, Alabama, she is your typical small town girl with a big city dreams and heart. Singing before she could talk and dancing before she could walk, Phoebe was consumed with dreams of performing while being influenced every weekend with marathons of Turner Classic Movie Channel, movie musicals such as Doris Days’ By The Light of the Silvery Moon, Shirly Temple’s Curly Top, and Debbie Allen & Phylisha Rashaad’s, Polly.

After graduating from high school, Phoebe enrolled in the University of Alabama’s Theatre Department where she was finally free to study and explore her acting dreams both in school and in community theatre. While still a student at UA, she got her chance at her first leading theatrical role as Mamie Till, in William Bradford Huie’s: Voice of the Voiceless at the BAMA Theatre. After completing her studies and performing in shows such as Big River and City of Angels, Phoebe graduated from UA a semester early and hit the ground running, moving to Los Angeles just two weeks later in January of 2012. Eager to begin her career, she studied film and TV acting techniques at Krater Studios and Brian Reise Studios, and landed roles in indie short films such as “Beachwood Kids” and the webseries “My Roommate the..(Gleek). However, NYC quickly came knocking on the door, and last year she moved to NYC to explore and take on its opportunities. Recently, Phoebe was cast in the feature film The Videoblogs written by Michael DiBiasio, and cannot wait to begin working with such an awesome cast and crew.

The Videoblogs is currently crowdfunding on Seed and Spark.

It's on.

It’s on.

Why You Are Awesome, Taking Donuts from Kids

What a week. I don’t know where to start.

We at The Videoblogs are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to our campaign, who has shared links, who has watched Multiverse — the list goes on. We are truly humbled by the great early start we’ve had.

Here’s what happened this week, in case you missed any of it:

Multiverse Screening and Videoblog kickoff

We even gave them popcorn.

1. We kicked off. In style. We were fortunate enough to be able to kick off The Videoblogs by screening Multiverse for 50+ supporters at a sponsored event at the beautiful Crosby Street Hotel Screening room. Many thanks to our gracious host for her support. More photos here.

 

 

Us on Seed and Spark

I believe the term is — “Thumbs up for rock and roll”?

2. We raised 20% of our goal in our first week. I cannot thank our supporters enough for this. As I have been stating, 80% of campaigns that accomplish this feat go on to success. There’s still a long way ahead, but our early adopters have given us a great gift in terms of moving forward — momentum. THANK YOU.

 

 

I Rick Roll myself.

Oof.

3. I was forced by our supporters to Rick Roll myself (and Facebook). Earlier this week, I challenged our early contributors to help us get to 10% funded, throwing in the added “bonus” that I would release an embarrassing video on social media if we hit 15%. Unfortunately for me, they delivered.

 

 

4. Our cat spoke insolently to Seed&Spark Founder and CEO Emily Best, as well as to Director of Crowdfunding Erica Anderson. We were forced to issue apologies. These were our first two Four Legged Videoblogs (see the campaign for more info) with four more to follow soon. I hope our dog Zelda is nicer to our friends.

 

 

5. We had out first public screening, along with Amy Seimetz’s SUN DON’T SHINE, at the Encore Indie Film Showcase in Portland. Reports indicate that it went well (see below). The Q&A portion of the evening, which I participated in over Skype, was also a lot of fun. Many thanks to Encore and to Jason de Parrie-Turner and the Clinton Street Theater for having us.

 

 

6. We released our first video for our crowdsourced Videoblogs Monologues project. There will be three additional entries. These are being produced as samples of what we’re looking to do with “Phase 2” of this overall initiative to contribute to a greater dialogue on mental health and the positive use of technology for personal expression. More here.

 

So, yeah, it’s been a busy week — full of awesome. Wouldn’t have happened without all of you, and, because of that…

…we’ll let the kids keep the donuts.

Taking donuts from kids

I’m sorry. We won’t do it again. Until we do.

Announcing: The Videoblog Monologues + “Phase 2”

madison

I’m excited to share this with you so let’s jump straight into it.

As many of you know from our pitch video for The Videoblogs, we’re not only making the film in launching this project.

We’re also working to set up “Phase 2” of this overall initiative to engage in a greater dialogue on mental health, the use of communications technology for personal expression, and related topics. Just helping people work up the confidence to speak more openly about difficult issues (or issues American’s aren’t typically comfortable talking about) would mean the world to us, when all is said and done. That’s where “Phase 2” comes in.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Chou at Orbital NYC for helping us arrive at the idea of “Phase 2”. Over the span of a meeting and some follow-up emails, Gary encouraged Rebecca and I to think about how we could do something different that also fell in line with our intentions for the project. In short, he challenged us to take a wider look at what was possible on the practical and tactile side of sparking a greater dialogue, other than making the film and putting it out there. In the end, we decided the best thing to do was to combine an effort at outreach and collaboration with an offer to “pay it forward”.

Hence, “Phase 2”. Which works like this:

  • Shortly after we wrap production on The Videoblogs, we will design a simple user-generated YouTube video contest for young Americans in the age range of 18-24
  • Basic guidelines for submission will be focused on performing and producing an original, short, fiction or non-fiction videoblog that deals with a difficult subject, a mental health issue, etc. Ideally, at the same time, there would be a touch of hopefulness to the narrative of the short piece.
  • Once the entry period has ended, we will post selected semi-finalists to our YouTube channel. Then there will be a voting period, which will produce a list of finalists.
  • When we have our finalists, a jury made up of myself, Rebecca, high-level donors from our Seed&Spark campaign, and hopefully also a few guest judges — will then select three winners.
  • Rebecca and I will mentor the winners in the production of their own short film centered on issues of mental health and the use of technology for personal expression. We will also lend them the small equipment package we will be using to shoot The Videoblogs
  • Whenever possible, we will screen the resultant short ahead of The Videoblogs, perhaps also including it in future distribution. Either way, we’ll continue to support the filmmakers and their work.

But that’s not (exactly) what today’s post, and/or The Videoblog Monologues, is about.

In recognition of the fact that it may be initially daunting to open up on camera, and/or to build momentum and to provide examples while embracing the collaborative spirit of our entire endeavor — we decided to crowdsource some “Phase 2” samples by reaching out to our network for help.

And that worked spectacularly.

Some of you may have seen (or shared, or answered) the Call for Writers I posted last month. Well, we got a nice batch of submissions, and we selected four one-page monologue scripts that we agreed to produce and distribute online in exchange for the writer’s permission to use their work for the aforementioned purpose.

Starting TODAY, we will be releasing one Videoblog Monologue per week, for the next month. Each video will continue to live on our YouTube channel along with Multiverse, our Four Legged Videoblogs, and other content.

Here’s the first one, written by April Austin. The video stars NYC actor Mary Palermo, was directed by our own Rebecca De Ornelas and recorded by Videoblogs Associate Producer Alex Hollock.

We hope you enjoy it. Please Share/Comment/Like/Tweet if you do!

In our first Videoblog Monologue, recently widowed Madison stresses over a rapidly approaching online date.

It's on.

It’s on.

The Videoblogs is an indie feature film about a struggling young woman whose life takes a surprise turn when a troubled teen finds her private video journal. We are currently crowdfunding.

Multiverse Screening: Encore Indiefilm Showcase

I’m excited to announce that Multiverse will be screening at the Encore Indiefilm Showcase on this Thursday, 7/24 in Portland, OR, at 7PM. We’ll be playing with Amy Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine.

A reclusive young woman braves a night out in NYC and is confronted by an increasingly isolating series of strange events.

This is our first public screening (with a few more hopefully to follow). We’re looking forward to sharing the film with the Portland community and thank Jason W. de Parrie-Turner and Jeanne de Parrie-Turner at Encore for inviting us to participate.

poster_image_web

For anyone who is new to this site, Multiverse is the latest (completed) film produced by myself and Rebecca De Ornelas. We’re currently crowdunding our first feature, The Videoblogs, on Seed&Spark.

The Videoblogs is thematically similar to Multiverse, and is about a struggling struggling young woman whose life takes a surprise turn when a troubled teenager finds her private video journal.

It's on.

It’s on.

 

Announcing: The Videoblogs

It's on. First feature. Let's do it.

It’s on. First feature. Let’s do it.

The life of a struggling young woman takes a surprise turn when a troubled teenager finds her private video journal.

CURRENTLY CROWDFUNDING ON SEED & SPARK.

Yes, it’s on.

Rebecca and I are proud to announce that we have been in preproduction on our first feature film, The Videoblogs, since June.

We’re currently crowfunding for the minimum amount of funds we need to pay for things like food, insurance, hard drives, etc. Everything else is being done in accordance with a bootstrapped experimental production model that I will write about in more detail soon.

Finally, we could sure use your help spreading the word. Friend me and Rebecca on Facebook, if we aren’t friends already. Follow us on Twitter (me here, her here).

If you can help financially, that would be wonderful, too. Every little bit makes a big difference. And there are plenty of cool perks to donating, like advanced copies of the film — or a personal videoblog from our cat or dog.

Wendy is waiting, humans.

Wendy is waiting, humans.

But, honestly, if you like our pitch — it would provide a huge boost if you could share the project with your nearest and dearest. Since you seem to like us (at least a little bit) our hope is that maybe a few of them will like us, too.

Here are sample messages you can copy and paste in seconds:

Share on Twitter!
Check out , an  feature about reaching out through The Screen, now funding on 

Share on Facebook!
Check out #VideoblogsFilm, an #indie feature about a struggling young woman whose life takes a surprise turn when a troubled teen finds her private video journal. Now funding on Seed&Spark! Incentives for contributing include advanced access to the film and vlogs from animals! http://bit.ly/1pvk1ct

Oh. And, also, since you’re so cool, feel free to watch our recently completed short film, Multiverse, for free. Right. Now. Hope you like it.

You can share Multiverse, too, if you want.

Share Multiverse on Twitter!
Watch this   , by . His next project! 

Share Multiverse on Facebook!
Check out #Multiverse, a creepy #scifi #drama about a reclusive young woman braves a night out in NYC and is confronted by an increasingly isolating series of strange events. The team behind it is crowdfunding their first feature on Seed&Spark! http://bit.ly/1nu5v7W

Thank you, sincerely, for your time and any help in spreading the word!