Tag Archives: Alex Hollock

The Confession: Applying Lessons Learned

EDIT: The Seed&Spark funding campaign for this film has been launched! Go here to watch our (not at all embarrassing) pitch video. Every dollar helps!

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Confession — we want to make something for you again. Read to the bottom for the full scoop!

As has been discussed here already, the process of completing The Videoblogs has been as exhausting as it has been amazing. (Lately, it’s been mostly amazing again, but more on that in the near future).

To recap — there have been two primary difficulties I’ve faced since we wrapped, and additionally as we and I have continued with the work of finishing the film.

The first was the fallout from working so hard, for so long, to not only get a feature film shot but a super low-budget feature film that takes on the heavy subject of mental health. On a personal artistic level, I followed up production by focusing primarily on crafting a no-holds-barred superhero spec script. In retrospect, I think the idea behind that was to have a ton of fun, and to explore a story without restrictions of scope or budget. (It was a true blast to write that one).

But I actually want to talk today about the other challenge, which requires a bit more unpacking.

Something happened to me over the course of the last few years. I’m not going to go into the details yet again, but suffice it to say that I crossed over to a place where I can (need to) share work here, frequently, such that you and I can keep up our relationship.

All that is a long way of confessing that, while completely understandable and necessary, it bothers me a bit that it’s been about a year since I shared a film with everyone. And, realistically, The Videoblogs won’t be out until next year.

So, what do we do?

Well, here’s something else I’ve learned over the years…

Lesson: Smash problems together

Problem: The Videoblogs, while amazingly fulfilling, has created the need for a change of pace, a little fun, in its wake.

Solution: Make something fun.

Problem: We haven’t commiserated over a large-scale creative thing since last year, when Multiverse was released at our party and then on this site.

Solution: Make something at a manageable scale, and share it immediately.

So. That catches you up as to why Rebecca and I have decided to make The Confession, a new comedic short film that we intend to fund, shoot, edit and release before the end of the year.

Lesson: Greater collaboration leads to better work

Find out more about Jaclyn: http://jaclyngramigna.com/

More about Jaclyn: http://jaclyngramigna.com.

Also, we’re introducing a few other lessons into the making of The Confession.

We’ve teamed up with the talented Jaclyn Gramigna, who will be directing/producing. I have to focus my directorial duties on The Videoblogs. Also, we’re aiming with this film to create a situation where collaborators are wearing one to two hats each, versus the “usual” three or more.

I like Jaclyn’s work, and we’re excited to collaborate with her.

Lesson: (Educated) guerilla-style fits us best

When we realized that The Videoblogs would only happen if: 1) I served as director of photography for the film (saving time and money) and 2) We shot guerrilla style — I spent a ton of time testing out all the research and experience I had gained over the past several years. I also grilled Daniele Napolitano, the man responsible for the beauty of Multiverse, on how to max out my camera, over the course of a three-hour drive.

The idea behind this, despite certain limitations, was to achieve photographic results that measured up to the overwhelming majority of what you might see in a well-done indie film today. I’m happy to say that — with the help of Alex Hollock and others — that we seem to have achieved this goal. We intend to shoot The Confession the same way, with the same cameras, and with even more knowledge that we had going into The Videoblogs.

Lesson: The film is (equally) about both artist and audience

I have already sung the praises of crowdfunding. I’m singing them again, now, not only because we need your help to make The Confession, but also because — this is how I would like to ideally operate.

Woah. Thank you.

We’re very grateful to our audience for funding production of The Videoblogs, Multiverse, and other films.

By now, we feel confident that we can deliver a quality film. The products of the past ten years (Over Easy, Sex and Justice, Multiverse, The Videoblogs) hopefully provide evidence of that. What I would love to do with The Confession is to do it all again — we make an entertaining but quality film, via your support — but also, in doing so, to prove a very simple point.

Where there’s a good team and a receptive audience — there can also be a squarely even exchange. With few parties in the middle complicating timelines and ballooning costs.

We seek your support in making The Confession, so that everyone can get together for a day in September, get paid a (nominal) wage to shoot something fun, and then quickly deliver that fun thing to you, who by then will hopefully have made it happen.

On that note…

Lesson: The most efficient way to get things done well is to pay a fair cost for them

We’ll raising funds to make The Confession on Seed&Spark The campaign will run for two weeks. If we’re successful in raising the $2,000 we’re looking to raise, we will be able to focus more completely on quality — and on getting the film quickly to you, first — by paying the decent wages listed in the campaign Wish List, feed everyone for the day of shooting, hold our collaborators schedules for the few but necessary hours we’ll need to get it all done, and (if all goes well) submit to a handful of film festivals after we deliver to you.

Rebecca De Ornelas will play Ellen in The Confession. Our Seed and Spark campaign launches on Sunday!

Rebecca De Ornelas will play Ellen in The Confession. Our Seed and Spark campaign launches on Sunday, 8/30!

If you decide to contribute even a small amount, you’ll be securing a first look at The Confession, and making a statement in favor of paying artists (directly) to make their work and share it (directly) with you.

All things told, it’s a modest experiment, with a (relatively) modest financial goal attached.

If you can’t contribute at this time, that’s totally cool. But we’d love your support spreading the word on social media, if you’re on board with what we’re doing. Please be on the lookout for Tweets, Facebook posts, and that sort of stuff.

This could be another step in our ongoing, (healthy and uncomplicated?) relationship. And if it works, maybe we’ll try it again next year.

What do you say? Do you have 90 seconds to watch our pitch

IMG_1639 (1)The Confession
A short drama (with some humor)
Writer: Michael DiBiasio / Director: Jaclyn Gramigna / Starring: Rebecca De Ornelas

Jacob just spent the night at Ellen’s for the first time. The still-new couple wanders into Brooklyn the next morning, to hang out. Jacob acts strange. Ellen wonders why. A confession is coming. And it’s not what you expect.

Another Battle: Actors vs Writers vs Filmmakers vs Comedians

You guys really enjoy competition. I guess that can be healthy. Sometimes? 🙂

Seriously, thanks for making our Hometown Battle contest (Cranston Rules!) such a success. Over the past few days, we’ve eclipsed 40% funded for The Videoblogs. But we have just a little over a week left to meet our goal.

Today, we have another friendly competition for you.

I apologize in advance, because today is probably going to get out of control. Everyone remember this is all for a good cause 🙂

Today is The Battle for Artistic Supremacy

Game Faces. All around. Bring it.

Game Faces. All around. Bring it.

Actors vs. Writers vs. Filmmakers vs. Comedians

Now. I know what you’re thinking. How does it help to ask a bunch of equally “financially challenged” professionals to contribute?

Valid point. But I have counterpoints…

Outside of friends and family (but often included in that group as well) no group is as supportive of the arts, percentage-wise, than other artists. This is not a knock on non-artists by a stretch. I think it’s just a little easier for artists to understand just how hard creative pursuits can be. Which is fine. We’re all in it because we want to be.

This campaign isn’t just about the 20K we need to shoot the film

It’s about an idea. One we share with Seed and Spark, which is why we’re working with Emily Best and company rather than another platform.

This is about community. It’s about banding together en masse. I don’t expect any fellow artists to able to contribute more than $20 today.

But that amount was carefully selected. So was the $10 and $5 incentive level.

Today, we’d love to bring in 50 contributions between $5 and $25. More would be great, of course 🙂

Every dollar counts!

Every dollar counts!

What we really want people to do here (a lot of people) is take a leap of faith and buy a copy of the movie before it’s made. We’ve tried as much as possible to make that an easy decision for you. And, again, I promise we’ll deliver a great film to you.

Rebecca and I together probably know hundreds of Actors, Writers, Filmmakers and Comedians. Between the rest of our team, I’m sure we know hundreds more.

It’s beyond moving when we get large donations like the one we got this morning that put us over 40% funded (with a little over a week to go). But, last night, we also got one for $5 that moved me in equal measure

Because that person did what they could AND for that I get to send her my book. Which I love to do. A piece of my soul went into that little book. I don’t know how or why it happened but it did. And the feedback I’ve gotten from those who have read it has been heartening.

You too can get a hold on some DREAD.

You too can get a hold on some DREAD.

So, yes, today is a friendly competition. I will be representing The Writers. We’ll probably win. But that’s not what this is about 🙂

This is about making a statement that small movies (and other projects) about difficult issues — have a right to exist.

If even half of the hundreds of fellow artists who read this today pick up a copy of that book and then share this post — that will push the needle on our campaign forward significantly.

The same rules apply as the last competition. Every dollar counts towards the total. The losers have to admit defeat, and declare the supremacy of the winner, in a video.

Take a leap of faith with us?

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.

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.