Tag Archives: web series

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!

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This past week and all its revealed!

18 May

Well…I have been hunkered down in the “Legendary” production office for over a week now getting ready for today!  Last weekend we shot three days.  One within Portland and one out on the Oregon coast and the footage could not have turned out better!  It’s amazing and the caliber of acting and character is top notch!

So here we are getting ready to leave today for Mckay Creek Stables out on highway 26.  Let me elaborate for a moment how everything has come together for this weekends shoot (which is massive by the way).  We had a semi skeleton crew for last weekend’s shoot and were a tad worried how this weekend would end up.  Within three days, those that hold no ties to the possessiveness of the infamous “Portland film cliques” came out of the wood work to help when they heard of our production value!  Tons of stand up people!  All of a sudden we had our hands on a massive jib with remote head,  four Canon Mark II 5 D cameras, a principle BTS filmer, 20ft of dolly track, shoulder rigs, glidecams, one of the most amazing creature FX specialists in the northwest, a full SCA troup of warriors, tons (literally tons) of armor and props, and some of the most talented crew that can be found north of LA!  All this on top of the already amazing locale that’s providing over 2o horses and livestock and 85 acres of forested area!

Now there have been a few people who have come and gone already on this project and it saddens me they could not have been a part of this.  I will be bold enough to say this is one production for the record books for Portland…Most def. on the new media front.  With 30 crew, 10 principle cast, and over 30 extras…it’s massive!  This past week has been full of blocking, rehearsals, and production meetings!  It has been an absolute highlight to see my story come to life!

However, in all my happiness, it still concerns me to see the state of our little film industry in Portland.  I was lucky enough to get to sit down and chat with several individuals about it this week.  It is blatant that when a project comes up that shows great potential in Portland, those “cliques” that we have mentioned before want to come out in droves to try and verbally bring down your project.  Or even those two faced beasts that we’ve touched on as well want a piece of the action.  I find it all rather humorous.  Is our space really that big where you don’t think things will be heard?  Where sound will not travel?  Or how about ego, once again?  What have you made recently?  Or acted in that has given you right to speak like Tom Cruise?  This is where I will give a massive shout out to some specific individuals.  These people in no way needed to help and are coming to lend a hand just out of sheer generosity and in my opinion are standouts in the Portland film community.  The creation of a film or short doesn’t tell anyone what kind of a person you are.  That acts that follow do.  Luis Garcia, Edd Blott, Aris Juson, Rowan Spiers, Sean Parker, Krysta Kelley, Claire Brooksbanks, Forge And Thistle, and Kevin Martin.  You all have a place in my heart for your generosity and giving spirits.  My sincere thanks and friendship!

I have to give my good friend and fellow actor a big shout out here.  Drew Garrettson was here from LA for about a week and a half and I wanted to get him in on this.  I revised a section of the script so he could get in.  I unknowingly wrote him a massive amount of dialogue and suddenly started worrying about him being able to memorize it in such a short time frame.  What I should have been thinking is how much of a professional he is because he was!  In the past four years that I have acted and worked with Drew, to me, this was the role that he rose with!  Drew nailed everything spot on and really shined in front of a lot of people!  His ability to adapt and contort his reactions, expressions, body, and abilities shows that he is a master of his craft!  Running lines with him brought me back to previous projects we’ve done and put a huge smile on my face!  Thanks, Drew!

“Legendary” has been a life changing experience for me.   As we get deeper into it,  I can only see big things happening for all involved!  With LA talent coming on in the near future (Courtney Zito and quite a few others), “Legendary” is going to be one hell of a wild ride full of busty babes, magic, creatures, and enough steel on steel that Stallone and Arnold will even be jealous!

FILM PRODUCTION FOR THE WIN!!!

Indie Intertube Interview and “Legendary” Day #1!

10 May

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Yesterday, I called into Indie Intertube‘s live podcast where hosts, Destini and Shad did a wonderful interview with me!  We talked the state of new media and touched on topics such as sustainability and new ways of platforming shows.  We also discussed in much detail my new series (along with “Arcana” creator, Barry Morgan) “Legendary:  A Tale Of Blood And Steel” as well as the future for “Embers Of War“.

Don’t miss out on MISCON 26 at the end of this month where “Embers Of War” will have a full two hour interactive panel and “Legendary” will get a taste of the “Iron Throne” and George R. R. Martin!!!! 

Today also marks the first day where several cast members and myself will be going through fight choreography with Jeff Richardson at the Academia Duelletoria!  The we will be making a journey out to Mckay Creek Stables to see the horses that will also be some of the stars in “Legendary”!  It’s going to be a fun filled day!

Original series for the win!!!!

Distributors….You’ve been put on notice!

26 Apr

When I dived into new media several years ago, I one day dreamed of being picked up by an online distributor and have my show marketed around the world!  It’s almost the equivalent to Christmas morning, doing the paperwork and waiting for your show to be released.  But…along with my dream came massive disappointment as I now talk to other creators, attend panels, and see just what is going on here.

Creators…are being raped.  There are several distributors out there for web content and some have the opportunity to take their show and instantly have it picked up.  Others struggle in finding distribution or are rejected by many of the web media moguls.  I have talked to many an individual who have jumped at the opportunity to sign their show and have not read the fine print.  Along with this comes the fact that many “high ups” will chat with you and make things sound glorious and perfect and make it sound like your web series will have a guaranteed audience with a good little income.  What they don;t tell you is that after you sign those papers…they’ll change your show…after you have watched one of your episodes get one million views…they’ll tell you there’s third party costs involved and the original CPM they quoted is now defunct.  These are just a few examples.

It is a dishonest way of doing things.  I personally have dealt with signing with a distributor only to have them massively revamp a trailer we submitted (this happened a few years ago).  And why aren’t a few of the major outlets not supplying their content creators with daily numbers?  I currently have a friend who has not received numbers for his series in weeks!  Get with the program here!

If we wanted to deal with the way Hollywood works, we’d be making features and festival shorts.  We wouldn’t be working in the space where we still have control and say (so we thought!).  Why are some of the bigger shows who have found a voice not stepping up and helping the smaller series?  I mean, this is supposed to be a drastically different avenue where us as creators help one another.  I could list about five major web series who I have found to be quite clicky and have no reason to be.  At the end of the day, you’re just like everyone else.  And you should use your audience to help make a change for the others within new media.  The main problem here is that these shows are marketed heavily by some of the exact distributors I speak of and see no issues as a lot of us do.

Koldcast, Blip Tv, Youtube, and a slew of others are all major distributors.  My personal experiences with Koldcast, unfortunately, have never been good.  Time and time again they have disappointed and are currently disappointing SEVERAL other creators that have signed on with them.  Blip Tv has been rather wonderful with only two exceptions.  They lack on marketing for your show.  This is where Koldcast does exceed…they really push your series (but what good does that do to only be told your income won’t reflect it’s numbers).  Blip also has a terrible response system meaning you have no real way of contacting someone…much like when you have a problem with your cell provider and just can’t get a damn person on the phone!  I cannot speak much about Youtube with the exception of saying that there “Partner” program is ridiculous these days.  Good luck applying as I have been told on numerous occasions from their own automatic response that some videos have copy written material and therefor they cannot accept the material into their partnering program.

I think the main issue I cannot stand here is creators being lied to or mislead when talking to some of these distributors.  If you were told something or signed documents, you need to hold their feet to the fire because sure enough, someone like Koldcast will most definitely  hold your nose to the grindstone if push comes to shove on a matter.

We need to take a stand against many of these outlets.  We are supplying them with our works that we have put blood, sweat, and tears into.  We shouldn’t be swayed and treated as we are just do to the fact that “woohoo, our show’s getting picked up!”.  We need to speak out and make sure these distributors pay what they say, market us as promised, and not speak with false tongue.  Many of you will instantly relate to this and some of you will not.  Do your research and talk to other creators.

Another interesting topic is how many good series of quality get turned down or never even talked to yet the space gets clogged with some of the worst shows ever being picked up by these same companies.  One of these genres happens to be comedy.  Our space is absolutely flooded with comedy series.  Why?  They are easy to make on a low budget.  The problem is acting and writing.  It takes a skilled writer to pen good humor and it takes an even better actor to deliver those lines.  The over population of comedic series is gross and the fact that so many horrible comedies are being picked up is even grosser.  This is why I feel most of the distributors are 100% hypocritical in what they say.  They want shows of quality yet will take on damn near anything with a punchline in hopes that it will be the next “Guild”.

I wish that many of us would not hold our voices back.  It’s a common problem.  The same as when you see a local feature, short, or series get made and screened.  When asked “what did you think?”…most compliment it and say how wonderful it is only to turn right around and bitch and moan about how terrible it really was.  This way of backstabbing is undeniably common in all facets of film and is the reason why we have so much crappy content in the whole of the entertainment industry.  Grow a backbone and say how you feel.

Speaking your mind for the win!

Projects worth support…because I said so!

25 Apr

Weeding through all those video posts and blog posts and kickstarter/indiegogo campains on Facebook can be a trying task. Especially when trying to figure which ones to actually support, read, or become a fan of. Below are projects which I have become fond of, believe in, become friends with, and fully support. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of my own local colleagues due to the fact that we have to many big headed and egotistical entities in Portland film these days. Some may blame this on creative differences or differences in opinion where I blame it on entitlement. Don’t lay claim to a genre which you are new to. Stop hiding behind a charity hoping it will cover the terrible piece of work you have created. And lastly, be humble in your approach when talking to others in the same industry. Don’t mock those that paved the way for you to be able to create something in your respected form of media.

Examples that are paving the way and stand for wonderful things are right here below and I am very proud of all those involved and what they are creating and accomplishing!

First Glance Films’ “Jedi Camp”

Good friends, Leah Cevoli and Cricket Lee, have been helping with this and acting in it and what a wonderful project it is! Using the “Star Wars” fandom, “Jedi Camp” deals with kids going to a camp to learn the ways of the Jedi and sends out an anti-bullying message for all. I am really stoked to see this thing come to life! Props to Camden Toy, Leah, Cricket, Kristin Nedopak, and Mark Gantt fro getting behind this! Visit Jedicamp.com for more information!

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Shelf Life: The Series

I saw this little gem in LA this last February at a screening and met some of the cast. I have since became friends with Stephanie Thorpe and must say…this is one of my all time favorite shows on the web! The series follows a slew of action figures that are perched on a young boy’s shelf and come to life when no one is looking. It’s the adult version of Toy Story and it is hilarious! Mad props to Stephanie, Tara Platt, and Yuri Lowenthal! Give it a watch at shelflifeseries.com!

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A Tale Of Delight

Now…this is one of those local Portland projects which I DO support because it is genuine and is diving into very fragile subject matter. I respect Edd Blott so much for this! It also has some amazing local talent on board with not only acting, but producing as well! “A Tale of Delight” follows Michael, a young illustrator, who helplessly witnesses his wife’s tragic death. One year later, as his family celebrates the holiday season, Michael’s depression leads him towards suicide. Only his sister, Camille, recognizes his desperation and sees where his need for peace is leading him. Now, she must convince him that a joy exists, despite horror and grief, and that it is something worth fighting for. Check out more info at the placeholder page where they did an indiegogo campaign: delightmovie.com.

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“Legendary” and it’s familiar faces…Part 1!

19 Apr

Creating one series has been hard enough (Embers Of War), but when I made the announcement about going into production on another series (Legendary:  A Tale Of Blood And Steel), I had no idea the kind of response that I would get from others.  I thought they’d think I was nuts!  And in fact, several people think I am.  “Embers Of War” is still in production and here I am starting ANOTHER show already!  Why do you ask?  Because I feel it’s the best way to properly monetize web series. Running two shows with built in audiences increases your chances of having two audiences play off one another.  It increases views.  A tactic that I think more creators need to look into.  As stressful and hectic as it may be, I am willing to take the gamble.  But one thing that has been amazing about getting into the “space”, has been the fortune of getting to know and beginning to work with other creators, actors, actresses, and producers.

“Legendary” in just over the past week has taken on a life of it’s own.  Two individuals who I will mention in this first post are Barry Morgan and Courtney Zito.  Barry Morgan is the creator of the series, Arcana, while Courtney Zito is the star, creator, writer, and producer of Hollywood Girl.  Both series shine in their respective genres.  Arcana brings a suspenseful take on horror showcasing so many strengths in tension building and character development that it is a show one cannot pass up!  Hollywood Girl is an amazing refreshing take on comedy and the daily life of most LA females trying to burst into the “scene”.  Courtney does a phenomenal job in her acting abilities to portray a character struggling with the small details of everyday life in a major city all while bringing the finer points of comedy to your monitor.

All of these are reasons why both have came on board “Legendary”.  Barry brings his amazing producing skills to the table while Courtney, wanting to play something outside of comedy, gets to do just that as recurring character “Lady Rhonwen”, a blade slinging feminist warrior.

I could not be more happier than to see two of web’s finest creators come aboard to help this project along.  This is where I see the face of new media going.  Creators helping creators…shows helping shows.  It seems to me that web series are working because everyone knows how much passion, money, labor, and love goes into everyone of our projects and we’re each willing to help one another.  For this..I am eternally thankful to Barry and Courtney and the several others that I will mention in the next post on this topic in part 2!

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