Three years or so ago, Mark Gantt found himself dissatisfied with the way his acting career was progressing. In fact, it was barely inching forward. His girlfriend had booked a film and a TV pilot, but Gantt was spinning his wheels, unable to get many auditions or meetings with casting directors. His one dependable creative outlet was his acting classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
One day a woman in class complained that her career was, like Gantt’s, stalled, while her sister was booking work regularly. The teacher, Allen Barton, advised, “You’ve just got to build your own door and walk through it.” Barton’s edict touched a nerve with Gantt, setting him on a course that would result in a starring role in an original web series and feature film, both entitled The Bannen Way. Gantt would play Neil Bannen, a suave chick-magnet of a thief who finds himself torn between the examples set by his chief-of-police father and his criminally inclined uncle.
Gantt says of the moment he decided to produce original content. “I’ve been on sets and I actually directed a couple of shorts and some music videos back in 2003 and 2004. So I knew how to create stuff.”
Gantt had begun working in the industry in 1991, starting as a production assistant, then a driver, and finally an assistant prop master. He had developed a pattern in which six months each year were devoted to prop-department work and six to his acting and other creative pursuits. Now he was ready to push forward fulltime with the latter.
Illeana Douglas (Easy to Assemble, Entourage), Craig Bierko (Damages, Cinderella Man) and Milo Ventimiglia (The Divide, Heroes) will guest star on the upcoming fifth season of The Temp Life (http://www.thetemplife.tv), the original comedy web series sponsored by and produced for Spherion Staffing Services since 2006, premiering December 6th on My Damn Channel.
Temp Life creator/producer and star Wilson Cleveland enlisted The Legend of Neil’sTony Janning and Gabe Uhr to write the new season which finds Nick “Trouble” Chiapetta (Cleveland) resuming control of hiring temps at Celltons, now the number-two cellphone button-maker in the country. When Celltons’ icy CEO, Eve Randall (Douglas reprising her role), believes one of Nick’s temps is sabotaging the company from within, everybody is a suspect including Nick’s estranged stepbrother Eddie (Bierko), a socially-ungraceful cafeteria temp (Ventimiglia) and other temp hires played by new and returning guest stars Tony Janning, Sandeep Parikh (The Guild, The Legend of Neil), Taryn Southern (Rules of Engagement) Mark Gantt (The Bannen Way), Jessica Rose (lonelygirl15, Greek), Ben Blair and Anyone But Me's Rachel Hip-Flores.
While the webseries medium provides the opportunity for talented television wannabes to tell their stories, hone their skills and get the finished product out to the masses without having to play the Hollywood game, it also provides Hollywood insiders to likewise bypass the system and prove what they are capable of on their own. Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is the most prominent example, but The Bannen Way likewise demonstrates what media professionals can accomplish with talent, a handful of credit cards and calling in favors from connected friends.
The Bannen Way stars Mark Gantt—an industry veteran who has worked behind the scenes on over a hundred productions as well as created a dozen or so short films—as Neal Bannen, a small-time criminal trying to escape from his life of crime. Bannen’s “one last job” turns into more, however, when he loses the $150,000 he owes underworld boss Sonny Carr (Ski Carr) in a poker game and agrees to steal a mysterious box for his ruthless mobster uncle (Robert Forster) in order to get the money back. The assignment takes a turn for the worse when an attractive picket-pocket (Vanessa Marcil) seemingly double-crosses Bannen, the target of the theft (Michael Lerner) hires three female assassins to protect the box and Bannen’s police chief father (Michael Ironside) threatens his son with jail time.
Barbie gets all the attention—the outfits, the special editions, the SNL parody sketches—but what about her forlorn beau Ken?
Mattel has been looking to reinvent Ken with an ever so clever product placement as a central character in Toy Story 3D this summer. Now it looks like they are turning to the world of web series to revamp their plastic bachelor.
We came across this site for a new reality web series Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend that seems to have just gone up this week. It looks like a casting call for now to find the real-life eligible bachelors who will star in the 8-episode series this fall. Is it just me or would Bannen Way star Mark Gantt be a shoo-in for this?
Saw a Tweet Today Wondering About Creating a Web Series… Or NOT?? Ask Mark Gantt About Being FEARLESS!
Okay, so I’m not going to get on a soapbox and preach but I think it’s pretty amazing that web series creators are making their “Passion Projects” as my friends from the WebTV Workshop say… and that in itself says a lot about where the entertainment industry is going, everyone now has access, PLUS you have unlimited opportunity to reach everyone who has a smart phone or Internet access, so what are you waiting for?
Okay – so you hear people say “Be Fearless” and maybe you think it’s a cliche’ but when you look at the example of how web series creator/actor Mark Gantt took what was in HIS HEAD and made it into a webseries that now has international distribution by Sony…. you want to know more about how it was done, right?? How it can help you be FEARLESS!
Well… let’s start with what happens when you don’t let the word “NO” or the phrase “you can’t do it” rule your world…and you follow your dreams…
Professor Gantt? Win Tickets to ‘Bannen Way’ Star’s Class by Marc Hustvedt on August 24th, 2010
Mark Gantt is a mysterious man. Ok, actually if you’re been paying even passing attention to web series over the past year then you’re no doubt familiar with the story of him and partner Jesse Warren hustling together a spec trailer to a web series (The Bannen Way) they hadn’t even shot yet and landing full season order and distribution from Sony Pictures Television.
But there’s still a mystery to this guy. And this weekend Streamy-winner Gantt plans to share some of his secrets to carving out his own path in the entertainment industry and not waiting for success to just come to him.
Interview: Mark Gantt – How To Create Your Own Career by: BuzzEdition
Tired of hearing no? There are other ways… When your career hits a speed bump, and opportunities seem non-existant, there are two paths you can take: the easy way or “The Bannen Way.” No longer are we limited by the opportunities people present to us. Current technology allows anyone to be an actor, producer, director or writer. The secret is to never settle for less that your dreams desire.
A quick check of Mark Gantt’s website or his IMDB page reveals he had a career, just not the one he had mapped out for himself. “I had my foot in the door and people were at the party saying ‘Hey come on in,’ but I was like ‘no, I gotta be an actor.’” He seemed to be gaining ground on a career path many would cherish, but even after appearing in a Sundance Short, and knowing the industry pros, his own agent still had no faith Mark would actually be getting auditions. Luckily Mark doesn’t acknowledge the word no.
Six Independent Spirits Making Their Hollywood Debut Via the Web By: Stephanie SchomerSeptember 1, 2010
Felicia Day blazed the trail. Here are six more creators using Web video to forge their way in Hollywood.
The Bannen Way - The sexy drama about a charismatic crook trying to straighten out his life won four Streamys (the Oscars of Web video) this year, including best actor in a drama series for lead (and cocreator) Mark Gantt. Season one attracted 13.8 million views, and season two is in development.
Attending AMONG FRIENDS screening at Universal City
Shannen Doherty honored for Best Individual Performance from the 2012 Webby Awards in the SUITE 7 episode "Company" that Mark directed. Episode was written by Yuri Baranovsky and stars Shannen and Wilson Cleveland.