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‘The Videoblogs’ is FUNDED and then some.

15 Aug

Hello,

As many of you know, I’ve spent the past few weeks talking a lot about The Videoblogs, a film being made by my pals Michael and Rebecca. I’m lucky enough to be serving as a consulting producer, so I did what I could to get the word out: tweeted, sent some e-mails, and posted an interview with Michael and Rebecca, respectively.

The interviews were a quick and dirty affair (crowdfunding doesn’t leave you a lot of time), but I loved both their answers and was thrilled to have them on my blog.

Well, I’m happy to report, through the hard work of Michael and Rebecca, that The Videoblogs is over 100% funded with time to spare!

screen-shot-2014-08-14-at-9-43-50-am

This is exciting news. I’m very proud of MIchael and Rebecca, and their plans and reasons for making this film give me hope for the future of micro-budgeted indiefilm.

If you can, please check out the Seed and Spark site, and pre-purchase the film. I’ve read it, and I know it’s going to be a great film. Crowdfunding is an incredible way to get your voice and dollars behind the work you’d like to get made.

That’s all for now. I have a business plan to begin to write, and a script to work on! Talk soon.

Best,
Liam.

I shot a monologue for my pals Michael DiBiasio and Rebecca DeOrnelas. Watch it.

8 Aug

Hey all,

What a busy week. I posted an interview yesterday with Michael DiBiasio, and today I post a monologue I shot for this #VideoblogsFilm crowdfunding campaign. It was a real pleasure to work with Rebecca and Kari on this. Take a watch, and check out Michael and Rebecca’s campaign!

Have a great weekend!

-Liam

#RealWorldArt: Filmmaker/Writer Michael DiBiasio.

7 Aug

Hello readers,
This is an exciting post.
Several months ago, I began joining in on Seed & Spark’s (oh, by the way, congrats!) weekly #FilmCurious chats. It was there I encountered @MichaelDiBiasio, a fiilmmaker/writer with some great opinions. We connected and actually hung out in person, which seemed weird before it happened, but then wasn’t weird at all. Then we became friends. A few months later, my former theater professors at the University of New Hampshire asked me to speak to a group of artists about life post-school, I went to social media to get new perspectives. Over 40 people commented, and Michael asked me to guest blog on the topic. The response was so good that I’ve decided to conduct interviews with working artists on a semi-regular basis.
Michael has become an excellent guy to throw ideas at, drink beer with, and chat about our mutual passion for filmmaking. I admire his passion and intelligence. I fully admit from using him as an inspiration in how I conduct myself online. He’s just that good.
Michael and his awesome creative partner/wife, Rebecca, have just released their film Multiverse and are crowdfunding for The Videoblogs, their first feature film. Their crowdfunding campaign has been awesome. Please check it out, and join in with a donation as small as $5.

I’ll let Michael take it from here.

liam_sscampMichael and Rebecca talking #VideoblogsFilm

First off, who are you and what are you working on now?
I am Michael, aka The Furious Romantic. I’m a writer and filmmaker in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in Rhode Island and I am a Pisces. Right now, I’m working on my first feature film, The Videoblogs. I’m also seeking to distribute my recent short, Multiverse, as widely as possible as a sort of thematic proof-of-concept for The Videoblogs, for which we’re seeking the minimum amount of funds necessary to shoot via a crowdfunding campaign.

Have you always wanted to be a filmmakers, or did you evolve into it? How did it come about?
I evolved into filmmaking. I have been writing for basically my whole life. At the same time, I also always loved movies. Without realizing it, my writing as I matured became much more visual. When I started trying to do it professionally — and by that I mean sticking with it once I got to college — I got a lot of feedback that compared my storytelling to filmmakers or films.
When I published my first short story, that same situation occurred. Several people told me it felt like a movie. I agreed. I happened to mention this to an alum of my fraternity at Columbia who is an independent filmmaker and he offered to let me borrow his equipment to make a short film out of the story if I ever felt like trying it. I took him up on the offer and produced my first short while still an undergrad and that was it. Bug caught, after that.
10409395_10101365047296072_810061210270520593_nThe Videoblogs: Crowdfunding now on Seed & Spark.

What role does your day job (or jobs) play in your creativity? How has being a producer shaped your own work?
My day job has been a source a stability. It took some time to get to that point, and for me to fully understand and appreciate this, but I feel very grateful to be able to mostly make ends meet and yet still find the time to create. It’s still a sacrifice. I work on my stuff through my lunch hour every day, and get most of my creative work done early mornings, nights and, historically, on weekends. It’s also allowed me to grow as a filmmaker. I create marketing videos and communications videos by day, which is still an exercise in storytelling if you’re doing it right, and avoiding cynicism about that type of work. I even think my daytime work has impacted my style. I’m quicker to take a more “classic” approach, and depend on the people on screen to tell the story and make an emotional connection, than to get overly fancy with the camera. I focus on creating a good composition and on getting the right take.
I produce by necessity. I don’t mind it, except that at my budget level it’s too often much more work than I’d like to be juggling while also directing. But it’s a good question, because producing my own work has been invaluable in a couple of key ways. First, it allows me to always keep working, on my own schedule. Similarly, my producer is always available to me. Finally — and this took some major trial and error to learn — having an intimate knowledge of the practical limitations of any given production make it easier to create organicsolutions to challenges of budget and circumstance.
Watch Rebecca and Michael’s film Multiverse.

As a married couple and collaborators, how do you balance making art and living your everyday life? What tactics have you come up?
We’re constantly working at this — more so lately. I’ve been guilty of not striking the right balance in the past. I think I’m better at it now. It’s very hard. In certain terms, being married to someone who understands how important the artistic process is to you — it’s a blessing. But that can be a double-edged sword. It can be isolating. Sometimes, usually not at the same time, we just want to be more like a “normal” couple. Then again, it truly can be special sharing the experience of doing something you love and feel compelled towards, with the person you love most and want to be around more than anyone else. Balance is the right word. It’s a never-ending dance. I never was very comfortable with dancing before I met Rebecca, though.

So, there ya have it. Great answers. Thanks, Michael.
Rebecca and Michael will be crowdfunding for a few more days. Help them out when you can! A little bit goes a long way.

I’ll be back later in the month with a personal post.

Until then,

Liam.

 

#RealWorldArt: Producer/Actor Rebecca De Ornelas.

1 Aug
This month's subject is our pal Rebecca De Ornelas. You can watch her in Multiverse right now.

This month’s #RealWorldArt subject is our pal Rebecca De Ornelas. You can watch her in Multiverse right now.


Whenever I read about artists who are successful at making their own work, I always wonder ‘how the hell did they do this and live a real life while doing so?’ As a working artist, I find achieving a life/art balance to be incredibly difficult. I am always on the lookout for advice about how to do it. When my former theater professors at the University of New Hampshire asked me to speak to a group of artists about life post-school, I went to social media to get new perspectives. Over 40 people commented, and my friend (and blogger/filmmaker extraordinaire) Michael DiBiasio asked me to guest blog. The response was so good that I’ve decided to conduct interviews with working artists on a semi-regular basis.
I’m very excited about my subject for July, Rebecca De Ornelas. Rebecca is an actor and producer from Brooklyn, and she happens to also be married to Michael. Rebecca and Michael just released their short film, Multiverse,’ and are crowdfunding (with our awesome pals) Seed and Spark for their first feature,  ‘ The Videoblogs.I’ve been involved as a consulting producer on the film, and I thought having a husband and wife team answer these questions would bring a new meaning to #RealWorldArt. Here are Rebecca’s answers, and I hope to get Michael’s out to you in August. As you may expect, they are busy people.

I’ll let Rebecca take it from here.

First off, who are you and what are you working on now?
I’m Rebecca and I’m an actor and producer from Brooklyn, New York. I’ve also co-produced two films (a featurette and a short) with my husband, Michael, and now we are working on our first feature, The Videoblogs. I do plays, too (currently rehearsing The Showoff with OnTheRoad Rep). I pretty much only work on things I love and feel passionate about and that’s pretty awesom

Have you always wanted to be a filmmakers, or did you evolve into it? How did it come about?

Nope. No way. Nuh-uh. I don’t think I ever thought I’d be where I am right now doing what I do. I guess what got me here is the fact that I will pretty much say YES to anything. Want to quit our jobs and make a movie that will make us famous? YES. Want to move to RI into Michael’s old bedroom to save us money while we make said movie? YES. Want to move back to New York and live in your old bedroom with your parents while we self-distribute? NO… Wait, YES. And that’s actually how our first film was born and raised. And it took us SIX years to get back to a place financially/emotionally/spiritually where we could make another one. This time, the rehab wasn’t so bad and so we are making another one two years later. Soon, we will pop them out like…TIC TACS.

DeOrnelas_Rebecca_LR3_NB
What role does your day job (or jobs) play in your creativity? How has being a producer shaped your own work?

I think of my day job as a growing pain. I’ve never not had to have one and it a.) Makes me fully appreciate the time I do get to work on projects I love and b.) Builds my personal character. Sure, I know that’s what everyone tells you adversity does but really my life is so much riper with material because I’ve had my foot in multiple industries. Bits of every character I will ever play I have waited on or worked with in some capacity. As an actor, I study relationships and the greater the diversity and reach I can have in that respect, the more informed I can be to honestly depict those relationships and people.

Being a producer has helped me to see a much bigger picture. Film is not the actor’s medium, for sure, because there is so much else going on that an actor is of service to. That’s not to say the acting in a film isn’t important but it’s just one part of all these multiple moving pieces. Producing has helped me to realize that as an actor, I just have one job: to be fully present at all times. And that’s it. The rest is the film’s responsibility. The actor does not have control over… anything, really. And that’s liberating.
Videoblogs_Poster
As a married couple and collaborators, how do you balance making art and living your everyday life? What tactics have you come up?

Balance is something every person tries to achieve but I don’t believe can do so perfectly for any extended period of time. I like to think of aiming for balance as rolling down a hill in a giant see-through ball. Not much can be done because you’re subject to the constant of gravity (in this case, the not-so constancy of life) but if you see a rock coming you can veer to the side to avoid it. Then maybe because you were trying to avoid the rock, you hit a tree but that’s okay because the ball is made of hard stuff and you just hit the tree, bounce off and go the other way. Am I making any sense? Point is, achieving balance sounds a little to me like striving to be perfect. You can aim for it but really you just have to stay malleable and open to change.

That being said, our tactic is to veer to the right when we have gone too far left and the goal is straight ahead.
Embarassing_Rebecca_Promo

Seriously, don’t get frozen. Back #VideoblogsFilm on Seed and Spark today.

Thanks, Rebecca! Looking forward to Michael’s answers. Please be sure to check in next week. I’m also planning another ‘Understanding The Work’ post for August, which will revolve around my burgeoning love for good old fashioned storytelling. Also planning a film to be shot this fall.

Lots of exciting news on its way. To stayed updated, join my mailing list or  just follow the blog!

Thank you for your continued support.

Best,
Liam.

Screenings Next week!

9 Jul

Screening ad

As luck would have it, two of my films (and the two I like the best) are both screening next week in New York City! Come on out to Videology on Monday and People’s Lounge on Wednesday! I’ll be in attendance at both events to chat! If you come to both, you’re going to get a pretty cool gift courtesy of Louis Phillips, the author featured prominently in Future Perfect.

Special thanks to the people at Videology and my wonderful friends at Congested Cat for the opportunity!

Best,
Liam.

#RealWorldArt: Nicole Solomon

30 Jun

10269402_10154128980515354_5692496379377031608_n
This week’s #RealWorldArt subject
: filmmaker and writer Nicole Solomon.

 

Whenever I read about artists who are successful at making their own work, I always wonder ‘how the hell did they do this and live a real life while doing so?’ As a working artist, I find achieving a life/art balance to be incredibly difficult. I am always on the lookout for advice about how to do it. When my former theater professors at the University of New Hampshire asked me to speak to a group of artists about life post-school, I went to social media to get new perspectives. Over 40 people commented, and my friend (and blogger/filmmaker extraordinaire) Michael DiBiasio asked me to guest blog. The response was so good that I’ve decided to conduct interviews with working artists on a semi-regular basis.

June ended up being a busy month. I was out of town for an entire week doing a workshop with I Was There Film Workshops, and other than that, hard at work on the new version of my first feature film. In addition, I spent a few days working on an article about some of my favorite independent films of the 21st century, which will be released soon. As a result, I haven’t had a chance to update the site much, but I didn’t want to get out of June without releasing my #RealWorldArt interview with Nicole Solomon.

Nicole is a filmmaker, writer, and all around excellent person. She’s working closely with me on my feature film, and was one of the first people I asked to participate in my #RealWorldArt series. She has a lot of interesting things to say stories to tell. I hope you enjoy them.

I’ll be back next week after the holiday with a general update on all things filmmaking. I’ll be in Chicago this weekend for the 4th of July. Expect plenty of instagrams.

Also, take a minute and join the mailing list! I’ll be sending out my film Future Perfect to anyone who joins!

Take it away, Nicole!


Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker, or did you evolve into it? How did it come about?

I don’t think I understood what being a filmmaker meant when I was a kid. I didn’t get that “director” was a job. I wanted to create other, fictional worlds, and was always doing that. My sisters and I would record radio dramas on our Fischer Price  tape recorder. I was always writing, sometimes screenplays. Weird, kid screenplays. In middle school I started but sadly never finished an adaptation of Ann. M. Martin’s Slambook.

In high school there was one quarter where you could take photography or video, so I took video and I loved it. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to take that class. My teacher, Karl Madden, was great. He suggested that I do some program for highschoolers at one of the colleges in the area. To be blunt, I was pretty depressed and wasn’t going to pursue something like that.

After high school I went to Eugene Lang and majored in cultural studies. I missed video.  I did do a couple projects when I went home on vacation with my sisters, including an hour long (terrible) movie, but then it was a few years before I did anything filmmake-y again.

I took an intro to digital video workshop at DCTV, and then applied for a two day a week internship so I could take almost unlimited workshops for free. At this time I had an intentionally weird and flexible work schedule, so I could give two normal work days a week to this in exchange for classes. I got a Panasonic DVX-100 on a credit card and Final Cut from a friend and started making videos alone and in collaboration with others. I mostly did music and activist/social justice related stuff.

I don’t know that I thought of myself as a filmmaker until I started thinking about going back to school to study film, which as you know I did in 2011 at CCNY, as we were in the same class and that is why we know each other. I’ve been making films both professionally and not for awhile and now I even have a degree in filmmaking so I guess I’m a filmmaker.

 

229978_371106829620918_2039357229_nNicole shooting.

 

How have your expectations changed the longer you’ve been making art, and how has the art you’ve made changed?

Not to sound conceited, but in elementary school I was awesome at creative writing. “Writing” was always my favorite subject in school–it was obviously the most fun, it came to me easily, and I did well. The teacher would approve the best works in class to be “published”–which meant some kid’s mom (I’m not sexistly generalizing, it was always a mom) took your handwritten masterpiece home and typed it up on a typewriter and bound it in a wallpaper sample of the author’s choice. Every story I ever turned in got published. Until one day in second grade, when I turned in a first draft of a story I’d been mulling over for months about some alternate universe with a unicorn in it that I was really excited about. I’m sure the execution was lacking and all, but I was passionate about this story. My teacher wasn’t having it, and said “Nicole, not every story needs to be published.” Which is true, and an important lesson. Not every fucking story should be published. But my main takeaway at the time was that I was not necessarily going to agree with other people (gatekeepers or otherwise) about which stories should be published, and that the stories I most thought should be published might be the ones least valued by others. So that was an important change in expectations.

Otherwise…despite the fact that it is increasingly difficult to make a living doing the things that I think I do best, I have come to expect to be compensated in some way for most creative work that I do that is not a personal passion project. Beyond childhood daydreams of being a famous writer or movie star when I grew up, I never even had a goal of making a living off of making art until I was well into my 20s. I always assumed I’d have to have a day job. And I still do, at least sometimes. But there are pockets where you can actually get paid to do work you both enjoy and feel good about, that is fulfilling. That was a revelation.

It was also an intense experience to direct Small Talk. I’d barely directed actors before, let alone a crew that large. And it is the most fun thing to do in the world. Directing a film like that, a film that you care about and requires all these other people, is basically like playing pretend or whatever as a kid, except that you are supposed to boss everyone else around and everyone is there to play exactly what you tell them. Directing a non-documentary film is basically getting to be the most selfish, bratty kid who makes all their friends do exactly what they say when they come over with their Star Wars action figures. And that’s a job people get paid to do. It’s kind of ridiculous. I did not understand how awesome directing is until I started doing it.

 481535_10152357211960354_1296658884_nTalking shots on the set of Small Talk with cinematographer Jeanette Sears.

 

What role does your day job (or jobs) play in your creativity?

I’m trying to mostly have my day jobs be creative at this point, which is great. For the past year or so (since I graduated from  CCNY) I’ve been mostly doing freelance work of some sort, and a lot of it was work that was exciting and rewarding. I recently completed a long term project with a wonderful Jewish feminist organization called Ma’yan who have a research internship for teenage girls. The last group of interns decided to research the impact of sexist media on girls and make a documentary about their findings. Ma’yan brought me on as a consultant. I helped figure out how to execute the project, developed educational materials for the interns and gave them a kind of crash course in advocacy documentary filmmaking. I also helped with the production and ultimately edited the thing. It was very important to me, Ma’yan and the interns that this really be the interns’ film–they were the directors and I was there to serve their vision as an editor. I brought a lot of ideas to the table, many of which we used, but many of which we didn’t. It was a new and challenging experience, one from which I gained a lot.

The first job I had after graduating college that I could stand for more than a few months was as a phone sex operator, which was a creativity-requiring job. It wasn’t usually creatively fulfilling, but it felt better than most of my other viable employment options in part because it was creative. Also, once I started working from home and part time, it was just an incredibly flexible way to have a steady income stream. I could do all kinds of housekeeping and busywork–record keeping, light research, etc while I was on calls. My apartment was so well organized back then, it was great.

How do you balance making art and dealing with your everyday life, job, and responsibilities?

Making art is pretty integrated into the rest of my life. My life partner is a musician, so he gets it and and we don’t have any of the tension artists and other people with careers/passions that can take a lot of emotional energy and cause your schedule to become bizarre sometimes have. I try to have day jobs that are creative and I feel good about as much as I can, and I try to have the less-great paid work be flexible. If I can possibly afford to, I try to have a work schedule that will allow me to work on my own and other people’s film projects, and have time to write things I’m not getting paid for and get enough sleep, if possible. It’s a hard balance to strike, and one I don’t always strike. Sometimes I run myself ragged in a way that is not healthy or sustainable for me.

I also make sure to build things like exercising, cooking (it is so easy to have a schedule with no time to cook and thus eat terribly and/or rack up unaffordable takeout bills), experiencing art in a focused way (like going out to a movie or museum or sitting and really listening to an album rather than having it on in the background while I do other things) and calling my grandmother regularly into my weekly schedule. Some of the ultimately most important things to do can be the easiest to put off when there’s no deadline. It’s a cliché, but it’s true that if you wait ‘til you find time, you’ll never have it. You have to make it where you can, if you’ve determined something is a priority..

What’s next for you?

If all goes well, heading to festivals with my short film Small Talk. I’m submitting to a lot of different places, hopefully some will go for it.. In terms of new projects, I am just starting work on a feature script that will be directed by my friend (and Small Talk producer) Flavio Alves, which I’m very excited about. I’m working on some personal projects, including a television pilot. I’m finishing up editing a music video I directed for “The Promise” by The Shondes that might be out by the time this runs. I’m also working on a cookbook that I’m hoping will be out in spring 2015. I’ve been in a writers’ group for years (we meet weekly to give one another feedback on our work) that is developing now into a publishing collective called Stone Crow Press. We just launched a website and blog (www.stonedcrowpress.com) that will hopefully contain useful resources for other writers as well as feature just good, smart, funny writing that anyone who enjoys such a thing might like.

 

537690_10152360068975354_1983389834_nThanks Nicole!

Understanding the work: Future Perfect in Portland (and New Hampshire next week!)

24 May

Hey all,

This week I had the good fortune of screening my short film Future Perfect at a film night in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to Encore Indiefilm Showcase, Clinton Street Theatre, and the Portland Film Festival for helping to put that together. An extra special thanks to Jason and Jeanne over at Heliorana FilmWorks for taking the time to watch and share the film.

I was unable to attend the screening in person, but did record a short video about the film for the audience to watch after the film.


It’s only 4 minutes, and if you’ve seen the film, it may give you a bit of insight into it, specifically why I made it and where the story came from. I also talk about the ending, which comes up at Q and As often when the film screens. We did shoot an additional scene for the end of the film that was actually never put into a single edit. I’ll post that in the near future.

For those of you in the New England area, Future Perfect will be screening at The Portsmouth Short Film Night this Thursday, May 29, at 7pm. Luckily, I’ll be able to attend that one. Hope to see you there! Here’s some details:

Image

 

My best,

Liam.