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!

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!

“You Pay Your Dues” Screening and More

Just wanted to post a quick note that our latest outing, “You Pay Your Dues,” will be screening along with the rest of the “Best of DC” 48 Hour Film Project entries, at the Government Video Expo this Friday, November 16th. Entry to the exhibit floor is free, and the films will be screening from 1:30–2:30; if the screening order we received is correct, we’ll be screening last. That said, given some of the other films screening beforehand (including WIT Films’ remarkable single-shot effort “Seasonal Disorder” and Burning Toast’s webcam-style “While You Still Can,” among some other great entries), you won’t want to be late.

In fact, if you can, you might want to get in on Thursday’s screening, which includes “DeLeon Crossing,” directed by our own Bjorn Munson, and “The Kumbio Takedown,” winner of the overall DC competition and featuring a number of people apt to check these updates (and a crew with whom I’ve happily worked on not one but three recent productions). Schedule permitting, I’m going to see if I can get out to as much of the expo as possible (particularly given the digital asset management content, Apple’s presentations on Final Cut Server and Panasonic’s P2 workflow talk), but I do know I won’t personally be able to attend Thursday’s screening (as I’ve got an unbreakable meeting commitment). But if anyone’s planning to go, please let me know and maybe we can coordinate.

As I said, entry to the exhibit floor is free, but you do need to register at www.gvexpo.com.

In other news, I also want to note that development is proceeding on “Number One With a Bullet,” though we’re looking at early 2008 before we begin actual production. We had hoped to get working before the end of the year, but we’re happy enough with the script that we really want to do this right rather than forcing it too early. We’ll be polishing it (i.e., sending it to a couple of knowledgeable critics and asking, “Where are we going wrong?”) and doing budget breakdowns first, and then looking at doing auditions as soon as we have our ducks in a row (and since I know we’ve got a lot of actors reading, rest assured — you’ll get first notification).

On a largely unrelated side note (it’s my news blog and I’ll say what I want to), I’d like to mention that comedy troupe Crisis Lab’s effort at the New York Television Festival’s “PGP Comedy Show” is finally available for online viewing. I’m still kicking myself for not being able to attend the big show itself, but this is at least some small consolation. Speaking purely for myself, I still say they were robbed. Danny “Buddy Jackson” Gavigan, Danny “FunnyDanny.com” Rouhier, Casie “Just Met Her This Weekend But Still Think of Her as Junie B. Jones” Platt, and Kevin “Yes, I Can Do Everything” Good are in top comedic form, even if they weren’t commensurately rewarded. (And as a special bonus, you can see a large Codeword Secret contingent sitting right behind the judges during the final live show. Almost makes you think the audience was stacked. Which it was not. Unfortunately. Dammit, I should have gone.)

You can watch the show (it’s broken down into three parts) here, see the group’s original audition video, “David Beckham in LA,” here, and another sketch series from the group, “Doctors & DJs,” here. (I want to make it absolutely clear that I had nothing to do with this group’s work — I’m just a fan, and thought it worthy of commendation. Kind of like how I keep plugging Buddy Jackson.)

All right, I’ve rambled on long enough. I’ll let you get back to your nachos.

Side Project Alert: “Codeword Secret”

This isn’t strictly Tohubohu-related, but it’s worth a mention anyway. As I mentioned before, I had the opportunity to work as a production designer on the latest project from DC 48 Hour Film Project winner Integral Arts: the independent action/comedy pilot “Codeword Secret.” It was an absolutely phenomenal experience (you can see some behind-the-scenes photos here), and directly informed some of our own purchasing decisions (let’s just say that Tohubohu will be going hi-def from now on). And on top of that, the show itself turned out great (in my oh-so-humble opinion). Developed by the same team behind the web sitcom sensation Buddy Jackson (you have been watching, haven’t you?), the show premieres this weekend at the New York Television Festival; if you’re in the area, be sure to catch it!

You can see a trailer for the show at the official site (and if you look carefully, you can see yours truly ducking in panic as a background extra). If all goes well, the pilot may be picked up for production — but whatever the outcome, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this story...