Tag Archives: j. lee

These knees are made of stone…

12 Nov

WOW!  November has been a busy month and it’s only the 12th!!!  I have had more work and filming go down so far in the past two weeks that I can hardly believe it  And I got to say…I owe most of it to my friends.

The creative team behind our new media movement and Youtube channel, LIKE A BOSS TV, is stellar to say the least.  Several creative film makers comprised of actors, directors, producers,  vfx gurus, cosplayers, geeks, and gamers all coming together to create high quality content for a channel that is nothing less than radical!  LIKE A BOSS TV is pretty much the product of AWESOME running a train on EPIC…yep…that’s how I just described it.

Even with that said, the hate has flowed here in Portland.  And I love every minute of it.  Why?  Because no one even knows what we have been up to with the exception of a few “behind the scenes” shots.  This proves my theory 100%.  People here are bitter, close-minded, egotistical film elitists with the exception of a few.  Running one’s mouth and trying to derail other people’s projects seems to be the weapons of choice.  And I LOVE the prim a dona actors here!  It’s okay though…this is why I have chosen to only work work with my friends now.  😉  The haters can keep taking pot shots and chop at the knees…but just read the title to this post.

On top of that…we don’t need anyone’s “approval” here and this project goes way beyond Portland, Oregon.  Besides…we have AWESOME FANS!  Just look below!  Woohoo!

Sunday Funday!!!

14 Oct

So…I haven’t slept in over 24 hours due to a recent commercial I got asked to put together but low and behold…I finished it this morning!  Now what a Sunday it is!  With people coming over to watch the new “Dexter” and the season premiere of “The Walking Dead” (Malia…I CANNOT believe you have not seen it!) and one of the most promising weeks ahead of me ever, I’d say this Sunday is one for the record books!

On a different note…today seems to be a day with some regret to it as well.  At about 7Am, my mind took a detour, thinking about how close I got to some people this past year.  Big mistake.  I had it used against me on several occasions including currently I think.  To some, feelings can apparently be pushed aside and forgotten if you will.  I have actually been trying my best to just focus on the immense amount of work, projects, collaborations, and writing that I have in front of me.  But it can be trying when you hear and see those that you put trust and faith in disregarding you’re own being to an extent that doesn’t even seem human.  It seems false and fake.  Especially when promises get shattered like glass.  The spider-webbed fractures seem to carry on for a great distance.

OKAY!  Enough emo talk!  When it’s all said and done, I am still standing tall, proud, continue to have PATIENCE, and a very lucrative future working alongside some of my best friends!  Aris Juson, Luis Garcia, and Annie Bardonski…thanks for the words of wisdom this past week.  You may not even know you gave ’em but thank you kindly!

On that note…I give you this:

GoProHD – “Welcome To Epic!” Featuring Professional Action Sport Athletes Bucky Lasek, Alana Blanchard, Tim Humphrys, Ronnie Renner, Andy MacDonald, and many more!

VIDCON 2012 – Part 1

4 Jul

So, myself along with “Legendary” director Barry Morgan, BTS and Youtube up and comer, Annie Bardosnski, and actor Brian Macewand, headed to Anaheim, California for Vidcon 2012 last week.  We were invited to screen the “Legendary” trailer and wanted to set up meetings with studios and distribution /production companies.  The trip…ended up ebing a massive success!

We arrived in Anaheim and stayed the first night at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel.  The festivities got started with Annie and Barry downing a fifth of Fireball and hittin’ up the pool where Annie tried to drunkenly beat up Barry!  Hilarious!

The following day we woke and hit up Downtown Disney.  We wanted to swim more and the Disney Hotel’s pool and water slides caught our attention.  A quick step towards the gate as someone left let us prop it open and get in where we enjoyed poolside service, several water slides, and the most amazing Tiki bar I have ever been too called “Trader Sams”.

Disney Hotel’s wonderful pool area that we snuck into!

That night, we met up with several of the “Legendary” cast at the VIDCON pre-party at the Anaheim K-1 Speedway!  We pulled in and new we were at the right spot when we saw tons of Youtube and new media fans holding signs up and sporting shirts that said things such as “Felicia Day…I love you!”.  We were joined by “Legendary’s” Executive Producer, Guido Orio, and one of ‘Legendary’s” actors, Drew Garrettson.  We made our way through the crowd and that’s about the time when a helicopter came in and landed.  Drew Baldwin of Tubefilter exited to announce that the “Streamy Awards” are returning.  What an entrance!

Fans in all their crazy glory!

…And more craziness.

The pre-party was fun and laid back and they served free margaritas!  “Legendary’s” Leah Cevoli was holdin’ down registration as she helped out one of the party’s sponsors, MOBLI Helenna Santos Levy met us outside and we headed in and mingled with all types of people.  I met a cool babe named Lindsay MC who told she’d been traveling around the country and posting her “episodes” on Mobli’s site!  Check them out!

http://www.mobli.com/lindsaymc

“Legendary’s” Direcor Barry Morgan and Actress Helenna Santos Levy.

When everyone got a bit burnt on the party, we bailed and found an AWESOME dive bar in Anaheim where we continued the night’s festivities with talk and pool!  I repped portland pretty hard by drinkin’ nothin but tall boys of PBR all night!

We miraculously found a dive bar in Anaheim and it was dope!

The one and only Helenna Santos Levy!

The next night brought us to the  “W Hotel” on Hollywood BLVD for a red carpet event called the “New Media Vault Summer Kick Off Party”.   Helenna Santos Levy, Barry Levy, Leah Cevoli, and Stephanie Thorpe met us there and we also invited some of our Portland transplants who are now living in LA!  “Forty Weight’s” Maren Mcquire and Joe Antone, Guido Orio and his wife, Eve, Mckenzie Coffee, and Drew Garrettson, all showed up.  Portland was rollin’ heavy up in that place!  We had several photo ops, met many industry peeps, and just had an all around grand time (even though a drink was $17)!  A big thanks to Damian Pelliccione of “Web Tv Workshop” and “new Media Vault” for setting the event up!

Orio, J.Lee, Brian, and Barry being themselves.

Helenna Santos Levy And Stephanie Thorpe!

Maddie D. and myself!

Portland in the house! J.Lee, Brian Macewand, Mckenzie Coffee, Barry Morgan, Guido Orio, Joe Antone, Maren Mcguire, and Drew Garrettson.

Leah Cevoli, Annie Bardonski, and Hels!

Friday saw Day #1 of VIDCON for us!  We arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center at about 11Am and collected our badges and goodies and met up with Hels, Orio, and Drew.  The first place we headed into was the expo hall.  It was packed with people, booths, and large showcase sponsors like Machinima and Maker Studios.  Machinima had an awesome main stage erected just to the left when you walked in!

“Whats Trending” W/ Shira Lazar live show on Machinima’s main stage!

Hels and I ran into one of new media’s greatest men and a wonderful friend of both of ours at the “Big Frame” lounge area, Mr. Paul Kontonis!

J.Lee and Paul Kontonis, who just launched Openslate!

Orio and I branched off to go check out a panel on building an audience and watch the “Legendary” Trailer’s first screening.  The panel was pretty awesome yet it was geared mainly for the younger Youtube crowd.  The ladies from the popular channel “The Hillywood show” talked mainly, sharing their experiences and thoughts on building and maintaining an audience.

“Building An Audience” Panel

Barry and I also got to snag a first look at the new animated series, “Scottish Ninjas”, which is friggin’ amazing!

The “Scottish Ninjas” Booth.

J.Lee with “Scottish Ninjas” co-creator, Rob Mullin.

Hels introduced us to several of Machinima’s “Bite Me” cast and crew (which happens to be my all time favorite web series so this was quite a big deal for me!).  Everyone hit it off and we pretty much hung out for the majority of Vidcon!

The “Bite Me” Direcotr, Jarrett Lee Conaway and the entire cast, along with Hels and me!

Orio, Dani Lennon (Bite Me), and Hels.

I also had the chance of chatting with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton towards the end of the day.  Afterwards, they played the game “Tabletop” at the Geek And Sundry booth to a mass of fans!  Cool peeps!

Wil Wheaton of “Star Trek”, “The Guild”, and “The Big Bang Theory” fame.

Felicia Day of “The Guild” getting ready to begin her panel.

Everyone was playing tabletop games at the “Geek And Sundry” booth.

The day ended with us checking out the Vidcon concert in the arena and then meeting up with Jarrett Lee Conaway (Bite Me’s Director), Al Thompson (Family guy, A Walk To Remember), Tim Street (New Media guru, Nickelodeon’s “All that”), and Heather Abbey (Alphabird) and slingin’ a few back in the Hilton Lobby’s bar then directing traffic to the Dennys down the street!  What a day!

The Arena was packed as several Youtube personalities took to the stage and got the crowd hyped. i have no idea who half the damn “Youtube clebs” are!

The Hilton Hotel Lobby Bar….glasses were dropped, people fell into the fountain, asses were grabbed, and Annie Bardonski accosted TONS of drunk men! Ha!

VIDCON PART 2 COMING SOON!

Creating a monster (and trying to keep it alive!).

8 Jun

Well…It’s currently 3:39Am and I have tried to fall asleep about a hundred times!  In the past month I have averaged about three hours of sleep daily and have no idea how I really function per day.  I guess I am just on auto-pilot.  But…today marks the first day of shooting some “showcase” scenes for LEGENDARY and the thought of this gnarly bloody battle that’s taking place today mixed with the locations is just keeping my eyes pinned open.  But more than that, as the creator, I am being kept awake daily with thought of where this new series needs to go.

I take quite a bit of pride in the people that I work with, who help, who act, and just anyone that contributes.  I try not to view this project as mine but a project that several of Portland’s finest are coming together to share talents on.  I want everyone to succeed.  A massive part of this lies on my shoulders.  How?  Well…it’s simple really.  I need to KNOW where I want the series to be distributed, the audience it needs to be marketed to, and the people I need to go to to make these things happen.  People rely on me as a creator and producer to deliver.  Not talk…not sit…not kiss ass.  But to get up and DELIVER.

In the new media realm, this is tough due to the fact that we are still discovering boundaries.  We are learning daily that there are many types of business models, revenue streams, ways of distribution, etc.  There are two massive things to think about here.  One is who you want to distribute the series.  Do you want to pitch it as a TV series to networks?  Do you want a huge Youtube channel to take it on and help build an audience?  Or do you want to go the conventional (and in my opinion, un-original) route and go with one of the already existing distribution channels like Blip.Tv or Koldcast.Tv?  The second thing that needs to be heavily considered is revenue.  Not so much “How am I going to get rich?”. That should never be the situation anyway.  No.  It needs to be “How do I sustain this series and keep it moving forward?”

All of the current distribution channels are paying pennies on the dollar to show creators for what they are making in advertising dollars…all off content WE are making for them.  Why is there a 50/50 split?  Why is not 70/30?  It seams people get to afraid to talk about details.  These sites are getting paid millions by companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Tide, etc etc for advertisement.  This comes in ads you see while watching a show (like all those damn youtube ads).  Here is an example…right now in the current market, a few of the distribution stations are getting paid $12 per 1K unique views.  They are giving the creators $6 of that.  But hold on…then there’s marketing fees and management fees on top of that.  By the time they’re done, the series is walking away with about $4 per 1K views.  How the Hell is a series supposed to survive off of these numbers?  The answer is simple.  They can’t.

You are now starting to understand why you are seeing mass crowd funding campaigns going on.  It’s far more simple to try and raise the money yourself.  This is forcing content creators to get original in ways to make revenue and support a cast and crew.  Finding an audience is key in this.  Especially a loyal one.  It’s also super tricky.

New media is the wild wild west right now.  There is no right or wrong way to do things but knowing all the different avenues is extremely valuable.  Marketing your series to it’s fullest potential will get you somewhere if done right!

In the past six months I have met a ton of amazing creators, producers, actors, actresses, and press outlets all within new media.  Everyone struggles at it.  Even the shows with massive audiences and followers.  I am hoping that LEGENDARY will break a few molds here.  It’s a 20-30 minute per episode series.  It is shot in some of the most amazing and beautiful locations I have ever been to.  It has outstanding production value.  It has some of the best talent on board that Portland has to offer (including others from LA) and a growing guest star list.  I have dedicated myself to making this series successful, sustainable, and most importantly…fun.

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon. One of the locations that “Legendary” films at.

We have got some amazing phone calls over the past few weeks and will be heading to LA at the end of this month to show the pilot at VIDCON.  In the time before this big event, my life will consist of finding representation for this series, a home with a distributor, and a solid financial platform that will see the series continue to call Oregon it’s “Lavornia”.

Those that know me know I put my heart and soul into my creations and I never leave a man (or woman) behind.  Everyone involved is on this journey now…and hopefully it will become something of legend.

So…in a few short hours…we will dawn armor, unsheathe swords , load blood cannons, and go to battle on a scene that will hopefully be jaw dropping for what’s considered “low budget film making”.   Here’s hoping we can turn some heads this month…and forever.

Epic film making for the win!

Let the legend begin!!!!

23 May

Last Friday afternoon, a slow warm breeze blew across the grassy meadows of McKay Creek Stables as the production of “Legendary:  A Tale Of Blood And Steel” descended upon it’s grounds.  Canvas tents were erected, swords were unsheathed, and cast and crew dawned their battle faces.  For the weekend, this would serve as base camp!

Base camp at McKay Creek Stables!

When I dived into the new media field of entertainment, I never thought I would ever create something that would draw as much talent and crew as we had this past weekend.  With 28 extras and 12 principle cast members, the final two days of chapter one of  “Legendary” were about to begin.

The camera job was a highlight of the weekend, capturing some amazingly beautiful shots!

For Portland’s indie film scene, the weekend ended up being one of memory with a “who’s who” of talent..both on camera and off.  The crew consisted of over 30 individuals, full of veterans such as director Barry Morgan (creator and director of the web series “Arcana”), Guido Orio (Golden Summit Productions),  and Armeen Monahan (Arm Photo And Media) and also art institute students (that have more skill than most professionals I know!) like the amazingly talented Rowan Spiers-Floyd and the ever so creative eye of Adam Halverson.

Cinematographer Adam Halverson shoots the wonderfully talented Katie Michels.

In terms of talent, anyone who has seen a short or feature made by any Portland filmmaker has seen at least one of the faces on cast.  The awesome talents of Dennis Fitzpatrick, Michelle Damis, Aparna Brielle, Katie Michels, Todd Robinson, Rick Strange, and Brian MacEwan were all on location!  Add into the mix some featured extras (that deserve more screen time) like the vibrant Kevin Martin and Josh Mead and hey…we got a party!

Actor Aris Juson (left) and Brian MacEwan (right). Aris helped as a PA for the day and in this particular moment…was not very happy.

It was one for the record books!  Especially when so many un-egotistical people came to lend a hand.  Edd Blott, Aris Juson, Luis Garcia, and Wes Cornwall all came out to help and just be part of the amazing experience.  Krysta Kelley (the most amazing crafty you could ever ask for!) served food the entire weekend and made everyone’s appetites that much easier to get a long with!  Annie Bardonski (Annie Bardonski Photography) served as the principle “behind the scenes” filmer, capturing some amazing moments behind the cameras!

Actor Dennis Fitzpatrick and actress Michelle Damis.

The production was a serious dream come true and the uniting of several of Portland’s finest!  The weekend also gave way to a life changing experience for me as a creator.  Now, writing fantasy is no easy task.  It’s especially hard to find the right cast that can act out and speak a world that you have created.  On Sunday, I left location for about 30 minutes due to a scene that was acted out with such precision by Brian MacEwan and Joann Campbell that I felt disturbed I had even wrote it!

Actress Joan Campbell.

There were many stories that piled up over the three days.  How about my near death experience where I had a battle pike’s handle shatter just below it’s head and land inches away from my the side of my face as I lay on my back with a camera pointed up at  it?  The plan was to have the actor swing downward and smash the pike into the ground several feet to the right side of my head.  Someone had the brilliant idea of placing a log over me and having the actor use it as a blockade so he couldn’t swing past that point.  Stupid is all I can say.  I suppose I should take the blame and I should never have let the log be put over top of me.  Lesson learned!

Chris Landry (sound) mics up actor Rick Strange.

One thing that makes “Legendary” so awesome is it’s costuming!  The outfits that are portrayed though out chapter one are to die for!  From armor to leather to just plain cloth, it has it all!  A massive thank you to all that helped on that front!

Actor Brian MacEwan stands with one of the stunt team.

Another massive compliment I have to give is to Megan Gamez.  I am not quite sure how no one has taken notice of her talent as an art director and set designer because she straight killed it!  She’s better at making something out of nothing than anyone I know in Portland film!  Actors specifically said they got into character much better due to the sets she decked out.  Meg provided the ambiance and artistic flow needed to push “Legendary” one step beyond what was needed in the fantasy realm.  If you are a Portland creator, director, or producer and you don’t hire her for your next shoot…you’re straight stupid!

A simple corpse made to look as authentic as possible by the talented Megan Gamez!

The weekend wrapped late Sunday night around a campfire setting and the last scenes of “Legendary” were shot!  It was a total wrap on the production…for now.  30 pages in five days with a total production time of just under 100 hours.  It was one hell of an accomplishment for all involved!

I will be writing a second chapter to this when I have some more time..but right now I have a teaser to cut and must get ready to go show it to Mr. George R. R. Martin (creator of Game Of  Thrones)  this weekend in Montana where I will also be sitting on the IRON THRONE!  So stoked!   Take a second and check out some more photos from the past weekend below!  All photos are courtesy of Annie Bardonski.

“Legendary” for the win!

Actor Todd Robinson portraying evil in classic fashion!

J. Lee dressed for a quest!

Gorgeous costuming!

Actor Brian MacEwan and the fantastic Zoe! She was quite a delight this last weekend and Brian fell in love with her!

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