A New Year Begins

Hope everyone had a nice holiday season! While I know it’s been a couple of months since my last message, it really feels like just yesterday that I was recapping the TIVA Peer Awards (and our jaw-dropping recognition therein). But now it’s time to get back to work, and I’ve got a few quick updates for everyone.

First of all, speaking of the Peer Awards, I’ve been asked to participate in a panel discussion — along with Andrea Kalin of Spark Media and Adam Hurst of Interface Media Group — to provide a sort of wrap-up to this year’s awards. Mike Sobola, the 2010 Peer Awards Chairman, will moderate, and the plan is to cover why one should enter competitions in general (and the Peer Awards in particular), selecting both categories to enter and works to submit, the importance of technical competence, and suggestions for next year’s awards. There will also be audience Q&A and screenings of clips from 2010 award competitors. The event is $10 for TIVA members (and full-time students) and $20 otherwise. I’d love to see some friendly faces in the crowd... maybe get a few softball questions.

(I’m also hoping to have a few copies of the “Number One With a Bullet” DVD — chock-full of bonus features — finished and on hand for cast & crew, so let me know if you’re planning to be there and I’ll bring you a copy.)

Next, a quick heads-up that Tohubohu is planning to join in on the 48 Hour Film Project’s “Go Green” competition, which runs across the weekend of February 18th through the 20th. Pretty much like the regular 48 Hour Film Project (which we’re also planning to do in a few months, of course), but with an environmental theme. While this is an international competition, DC is one of eight cities hosting a live in-person event — which means that we will get a local big-screen premiere. So if you’re interested in joining us for a little extra challenge, drop me a line soon!

And finally, I wanted to give a few quick notices about projects that are at least tangentially Tohubohu-related. One, Jabberwocky Audio Theater — spearheaded by Tohubohu’s own Bjorn Munson — has officially launched, and its first serialized radio drama, Rogue Tyger, will debut later this month; behind-the-scenes interviews have already begun airing (including ones with Tohubohu performers Nick DePinto and Neil Conway — and one with yours truly is coming soon). Check out the official site for more information, or search the iTunes directory for “Jabberwocky Audio Theater” to subscribe!

Two, Genesis, winner of the “Best Drama” award at the 2010 Capital Fringe Festival, is having a limited return engagement at the Warehouse Theater from January 20–30. Written by Evan Crump and directed by Tohubohu performer John C. Bailey, this is a truly compelling piece, and I was honored to be able to provide some videographic support for the produciton. Tickets are available online at www.cityartisticpartnerships.org.

And three, the Saint Elizabeths Hospital: Voices From Within video diary project — put together by Joy Haynes and Ellie Walton (with some editorial assistance from Tohubohu veteran Ginny Filer and myself) — is having its premiere screening on January 29. The event is invitation-only and seating is limited, so be sure to check out the official site or email seh.voicesfromwithin@gmail.com for details. This is an extraordinary project, and well worth checking out!

And that just about wraps it up for this newsletter. Best wishes to all, and I hope to hear from several of you with regard to “Go Green” very soon!

Wow, Just...Wow

So I’m finally (well, mostly anyway) recovered from last night’s festivities at the National Press Club for the 2010 TIVA (Television, Internet, and Video Association of DC) Peer Awards... and to say that the awards ceremony was a success would be a huge understatement. Not only was it a fantastic opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most innovative, dedicated and creative people in the DC visual-production community, but in what seemed at times like a comically extended procession, the Tohubohu films “Liability” and “Number One With a Bullet” took home a grand total of eight awards across the course of the evening:

And as if that weren’t enough, “Number One With a Bullet” was also one out of just four nominees in the prestigious “Best of DC” award! (My jaw was nearly on the floor when they made that announcement.)

All of this is doubly amazing in that we hadn’t planned on submitting “Number One With a Bullet” at all this year — but a mad-scramble dash to finally get the picture locked allowed us to slip it in at the last possible moment for consideration. We figured that it might generate some small amount of buzz around the project, but honestly had no idea that it would be anything approaching this scale. (And yes, we’ll be sure to let everyone know when they can see the finished product on the big screen!)

The ceremony didn’t allow time for individual acceptance speeches (though there should be pictures later), so I just wanted to take a moment here to congratulate everyone involved in both of these projects — filmmaking is far from an individual endeavor, and there’s honestly no way we could have had this success without the dedicated efforts of all of you. We truly couldn’t be happier!

Tohubohu Autumn Update

Just a few quick notes, and then we’ll let you get back to work (or Facebook viewing, which may be more likely).

We recently attended Stonehenge XII, held at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore. Saw a whole bunch of great audition pieces (including some stellar showings from several Tohubohu veterans), and are really hoping to work with some of those actors in the future. Stonehenge is on hold for the winter, but keep an eye out at Team Jabberwocky for details on next year’s events.

The TIVA Peer Awards are coming up on November 13, and Tohubohu has not one but two films in consideration for awards — “Liability” and “Number One With a Bullet.” Tickets for the award ceremony at the National Press Club are still available, but going fast. We’d love to have a great turnout, so please consider joining us there. (And hey, drop us a line to let us know you’re coming!)

After a lot of hard work, all fourteen of the Tohubohu short films are now represented at the IMDb! All the way back to our inaugural pieces, “Loose Ends” and “Schlimmer.” We’ve done our best to make sure everything’s accurate and up to date, but if you worked on any of our films, give the pages a quick look and note any errors or inconsistencies. If you’ve got an IMDb account, you can request the changes yourself, or just pass them along to us and we’ll get repairs under way.

A quick notification for any of our younger readers — NASA is promoting a video contest for third through eighth graders. Videos will showcase how NASA technology is “transformed” into everyday use (yes, there’s a Transformers theme). Might be an interesting opportunity.

Otherwise, there are a few special projects in the works, but unfortunately nothing ready for promotion just yet. So that’s it for now — hope to see you soon!

Quick Bits

Just wanted to take a moment to give everyone a few updates (only one of which is strictly Tohubohu-related, but I figure that at this stage I can be forgiven a little digression).

First of all, the “director’s cut” of “Please Forward” is now up and available for viewing at our official site. Not a whole lot different from the original 48 Hour Film Project version, but just a couple of minor alterations that we hope will give it a little life beyond the 48 Hour audience. Give it a look and let us know what you think! We hope to start sending this out to festivals shortly.

Second, a sort of follow-up shout-out to Barry Gribble and the Integral Arts team for their independent TV pilot, “Dog.” Last time I mentioned that it had been accepted into the Independent Television Festival in LA (and, of course, dropped the little fact that I did a little production design work on it). Well, as it so happens, the pilot took home the Best Overall TV award! The pilot should be viewable at the festival site soon, so be sure to check back — it’s definitely worth seeing (as if the fact that they won the top award didn’t give you a little clue). Congratulations!

Edited to add: Actually, the pilot won’t be viewable at the ITV Fest site right away — because it’ll be screening at the New York Television Festival in September! And as a special bonus, you can check out the trailer for “Dog” right here! (It’s kind of NSFW, though the language is muted. Use your own judgment.) And if you look carefully, you’ll see one of my poster designs in the opening shot. Just sayin’.

Third, a call to arms for fellow filmmaker Francis Abbey, of Boxing Day and video blog “Running Commentary” fame (or notoriety, depending on your point of view). His latest feature, 6 Nonsmokers, is looking for background actors right now. As in this week — Wednesday and Friday, to be specific. It’s a non-union shoot (and not a paying gig), but does promise to be a fun time. You can check out the official site for details on the film — a comedy about conflict resolution — but as for the pertinent practical details, here goes: On Wednesday, they’re looking to shoot a big crowd scene at the Oxon Hill Public Library, and need to fill an auditorium with journalists and academics. And on Friday, they’ll be staging a college party along with some bar gatherings (a regular bar, country-western bar, and a club). If you’re interested, you can contact casting director Laura Carlson at lauracarlson74 [AT] hotmail [DOT] com. Preferably sooner rather than later.

And finally, I just wanted to call attention to some promising new web series for your entertainment (as if my ramblings weren’t entertaining enough). First is “Shrinkage,” starring Gia Mora as an online advice columnist with a less-than-traditional therapy style (written and directed by the aforementioned Barry Gribble). Next is the ever-popular “Appletinis with Ken,” starring Ken Arnold as... well, Ken Arnold — not exactly a “new” series, but I haven’t mentioned it here before, and it has featured a few Tohubohu veterans in the guest chair. And finally, there’s “ParaAbnormal,” a show about dysfunctional paranormal investigators, featuring Ken Arnold and “All Roads Lead Away” star Joe Hansard. So give ’em a look-see and spread the word if you’re so inclined — gotta do what we can to expand the audience for the DC indie production community!

That’s it for now — thanks for listening (or reading), and we’ll be back in touch soon!

The Results Are In...

Please Forward” has taken home the Audience Award for screening group G in the 2009 48 Hour Film Project! (We’ve got a nice little certificate and everything.) And given that there were four films from our screening group represented in the “Best Of” screening, that’s no small feat. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make this effort such a success. The screening itself went great, and was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate with a veritable Who’s-Who of the DC filmmaking community.

The full listing of results are posted at the official site, but I thought I’d point out a few personal highlights. (Just my own opinion, of course, but I like to think my opinion’s pretty significant. It is to me, anyway.) Fellow Audience Award winners included Dobler’s Pen entry “He Drove,” Card Sharque’s “Cry Guy,” and River Run’s “Happy Hour.” Cinematography and Editing honors went to Dead City Films’ “The Imperial.” The WIT Films entry “Rakirovka” took home the Best Directing award (as well as Best Sound Design). And our frequent collaborators (co-conspirators?) Integral Arts took home Best Costumes, Best Special Effects, Best Writing, and Best Film awards for “Gwendolyn Dangerous and the Great Space Rescue.” (Whew!) I also want to give a quick shout-out to The Quest for their film “Stonking,” Cavegirl Productions for “Motivation,” and Star Wipe Films for “Like It’s Your Last” — all worth a look.

That’s it for today, but I’ll sign off with another reminder to keep your calendars open (not to mention passing the news along to anyone who might be interested) on June 27 for the Rosebud Film & Video Festival, where “All Roads Lead Away” will be screening. And in the meantime, I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on any other showings or events to come!

“Best Of” Wrapup and a Special Request

Well, last night was the “Best of the 48 Hour Film Project” screening, and I have to say it was a blast. Seeing “All Roads Lead Away” up on the big screen in high definition was an awe-inspiring experience. Once again, we were shut out of the major awards, but regardless, I’m immensely proud of our movie and extremely grateful for all of the hard work everyone put into making it.

I’m sure they’ll post the award-winners on the official site soon, but I thought I’d go ahead and let you all know directly. They should all be viewable on 48.tv sometime in the not-too-distant future, but I’ll post links to the ones that are already viewable online (as near as I can tell, anyway).

Now for a request: As many of you are aware, we had to cut a lot of material (more than two minutes’ worth) from “All Roads Lead Away” in order to keep our running time under the seven-minute limit. And while normally I’m a big fan of that forced editing — it almost always makes for a tighter, better-paced film — in this case I fear we may have trimmed a bit too much. With that in mind, I’ve posted both the original 48 Hour Film Project cut and a somewhat longer cut that reincorporates some (but not all) of the lost material on the official site.

And I figured what better “test audience” to provide honest feedback than this group?

So if you get a chance, take a look at both versions with a critical eye. Do the new and extended scenes add to your understanding and appreciation of the story, or do they drag the pacing down? Do they add genuine character moments or are they mere directorial self-indulgence? Consider this a “director’s-cut-in-progress,” and one in which your reactions may have an impact.

For our final “archival” cut (i.e., the version we’ll be submitting to festivals) we may go with the full extended edit. Or we may keep to the original shorter cut. Or something in between. So go ahead and let your opinion be heard — at the very least you’ll be getting a glimpse into the filmmaking process.

Screening Wrap-Up

Well, beyond the selection as part of the “Best Of” screening, “You Pay Your Dues” didn’t take home any additional honors. A disappointment, to be sure, but not one we can really begrudge anyone — particularly given the representation of Tohubohu alumni among some of the winning entries. Veteran contributor Bjorn Munson’s Team Jabberwocky took home Best Cinematography honors for “DeLeon Crossing,” and Ryan “Machinations” Mulkay worked with Integral Arts’ “The Kumbio Takedown,” which won not only the Best Acting award, but also Best in City for Washington, DC. Congratulations!

Other notable winners were Best Directing for WIT’s “Seasonal Disorder” (which also won the Audience Award for our screening), Best Original Music for the musical “Leon!” and Best Special Effects for “Urine Cake.”

Thanks to everyone for your help and support — and I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted about upcoming opportunities!

Best of the 48 Hour Film Project

Better late than never, right?

We just received word that “You Pay Your Dues” is one of 22 films (out of 93 completed films) selected as the “Best of the 48 Hour Film Project” for Washington, D.C. — and as a result, we will be screening this Thursday evening at the AFI Silver Theatre. Because of the number of films selected in this round, the films will be shown in two separate screenings, one at 7:00 and another at 9:30. Our film will be showing as part of the first screening — that is, 7:00 p.m. (as will Tohubohu veteran Bjorn Munson’s directorial effort, “DeLeon Crossing”).

Right now, it looks like tickets are available for both the 7:00 and 9:30 screenings (I suspect they may have opened up a second screen), so if you’d like to come out, be sure to pick your tickets up right away. We’re waiting to hear more details about awards presentation and the after-party, but as soon as I know more, I’ll pass along the info.

Congratulations to everyone who helped make this film the success it has been. I’m immensely proud of you all! Hope to see you Thursday!

P.S.: Here is the full screening lineup — there are some duplicates in there (specifically “Inquisito Libellus,” “Seasonal Disorder,” and “The Kumbio Takedown”), presumably to fill out the schedule (though I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that they’re the front-runners for the top awards).

Screening 1 — 7:00 p.m.

Screening 2 — 9:30 p.m.