I know I need to do something when it scares the shit out of me. Wait... that's total bullshit. I only know that once I'm in it. In the beginning it usually starts with a thought like, "Hey, I want to do a workshop to help people get started on their own web series.' That thought is usually followed quickly by my wonderful critic who says, "why would anyone come to your workshop? there are so many panels and workshops already, why start another one? you're a piece of shit and don't know what you're talking about..." Those thoughts freaking suck. They paralyze me and make me want to curl up in bed and not do anything. This last couple months have been filled with several of these moments, shaving to a mustache on THE TEMP LIFE...
I guess it's usually misquoted, people usually say, "If you build it, they will come." But in Field Of Dreams, Kevin Costner's character hears "If you build it, HE will come." I guess, in a way, it actually works the way it was said originally. I'm realizing that I am a BRAND, a BUSINESS. I'm no longer just an actor with a 'B' job. I think as artists, it's hard to think of us as a business and well, to even think with a business mind. I just overheard a make-up artist on set say she'd never worked in an office. She said that the joke with her fellow Emory classmates is they're not good at math. "That's why I date Jewish men so they can figure out the tip." But what I heard was, that she's an artist, she doesn't do the 'business thing' it's not her strength. I also saw a tweet from Felicia Day today, mentioning digging up W-9's and getting credit reports and that the business stuff takes longer than the creative at times. I'm rambling a bit, there's a lot of stuff rolling around in my head lately.
One of my teachers, Richard Lawson talks about the misconception of an actor and as a character. He'd take two tapes (before digitally recording critiques at The Beverly Hills Playhouse) and hold them up. He'd say, "This is you as the actor, this is you as the character. They look identical, but they are different. You have to learn to let that character go. You created it, put it out there and now it's done." I took that literally and said, well my 'acting career' is that over there, disconnected from me, Mark, the person.
We have here an interesting low-budget film based on the ancient occult practices originating out of Egypt. Currently in post-production, The Second Reign of Night comes our way as one of many films that base their story around Egyptian theology and spiritual practices. This is Antoni Sole’s first project as director, but he has produced such indie titles as Zone of the Dead and Night of the Sinner.
This movie is brought to us by Odin’s Eye Entertainment and explores the history of the Khufu tablet which is an artifact associated with the pharaoh with the same name who has been accredited for building the Great Pyramid of Giza. You know, one of the Seven Wonder of the Ancient World. Although the stills and trailer don’t show any hint of the pharaoh making an “undead” appearance in this movie (like the Mummy franchise), it looks like it should be due out to DVD and VOD soon. No word on a release date yet, but when we know, you’ll know.
Boston professor Johan Meyer, an eminent anthropologist and lecturer is highly regarded for his translations of Egyptian pre-Khufu tablets. Approached to evaluate an ancient text, his mysterious client requires urgency so Johan works around the clock. As the hours pass, strange occurrences take place as Johan’s dreams become drenched in bizarre visions. It all seems a strange coincidence until the translation is almost at an end. It is only then, when Johan realizes the parchment contains a ritual that brings to life Ereshkigal thus awakening the dead and plunging the world into eternal darkness.
The Web is meant to be a bastion for indie TV producers and actors but even the Streamy Awards, which were created to honor the best of Internet entertainment, have some prominent mainstream performers among its honorees.
Ken Marino won for his performance on “Burning Love” last year. Weird Al Yankovic won in 2010 for his guest appearance on “Know Your Meme” and Neil Patrick Harris took home a statue in 2009 for his turn on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” And this year Zach Galifianakis, a past winner, is nominated for his “Between Two Ferns” interview with President Obama. These are hardly performers who were on the brink of stardom before receiving a Streamy.
Still, the awards can give a boost to actors who are struggling for recognition beyond the Web, according to Mark Gantt, a Los Angeles-based performer who won Streamys for his acting and producing on “The Bannen Way” in 2010.
“It opened a lot of doors,” he told Backstage. “For me as an actor, it’s still not an Emmy. The Streamys hasn’t hit that place in the mainstream consciousness, but with agents, managers, and casting people who are aware of the space, having won those awards has helped me.”
“The Bannen Way,” which Gantt co-created with Jesse Warren, is an action-adventure series that was produced for Sony’s Crackle as a feature-formatted as a Web series. Gantt believes it was able to stand out because the medium wasn’t as saturated. “Four years ago there wasn’t a lot of mainstream talent out there doing [online series],” he said. “The reality now is digital studios and multi-channel networks are basically cable companies, and they’re looking to do half-hour and hour long series.”
That makes it more difficult for indie TV producers and actors to find an audience online. “In terms of you having $250 and a camera to go shoot something, you’re one of thousands—how do you stand out and create something different? It’s much more a challenge now,” said Gantt, who’s set to direct his first feature, titled "A Place Apart," later this year.
Gantt said he understands the tension between honoring YouTubers and established talent for Internet-based awards like the Streamys. Still, he said, “they can’t ignore somebody with a name that is out there doing stuff in the space. It is tougher for an indie person who's unknown to create a show and get known.”
Actors should still try their hands at producing their own content, he adds. “You have to keep going 'next' all the time. Something will pop.”
His advice to aspiring Streamy winners? Have passion and don’t go it alone. “We surrounded ourselves with professionals who could do this in their sleep,” he said of his 2010 production.
The 4th Streamy Awards are set to air here Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
How Mark Gantt Has Changed The Way Things Are Done In Horror
Mark Gantt is a multi-talented film industry professional who has done it all at one time or another. He is well known for being an actor, director, producer, and writer. However, when new filmmakers look at his work, they are often drawn to the amazing way he has used the internet.
Mark Gantt didn’t actually get his start in horror, but probably made the greatest early impact in his role as Neal Bannen and executive producer of “The Bannen Way.” This crime drama series helped him to draw on his own experiences as a member of a law enforcement family.
“The Bannen Way” was carried as a completely exclusive online experience, and won a Streamy Award for its outstanding writing, acting, direction and production. During this time, Mark had to fight for the production to be recognized, since it was “geoblocked” and not available to the entire World Wide Web.
The quality of “The Bannen Way” helped to change the Streamys, leading to a ruling that geoblocked content was eligible for the award. Besides this, Gantt was able to demonstrate that a web-only focus could build up a dedicated following while reducing production costs.
At The BB Basement, we respect everything Mark has done so far — so it’s important to direct some attention to his latest achievement, the successful crowd funding of “The Night Visitor.”
“The Night Visitor” Achieved Production Faster Thanks To Mark Gantt’s Savvy
Following his success with “The Bannen Way,” Mark was looking for innovative ways to bring his vision to life and he found it in the form of Kickstarter. Kickstarter was the perfect platform to fund “The Night Visitor,” and he used it expertly.
“The Night Visitor” was a horror/sci-fi tale about a family in turmoil. A couple must struggle to save their marriage while protecting their son from an invisible “Night Visitor” with terrible powers.
With the success of “The Night Visitor,” the path was open to “The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story,” which will continue the tale. Naturally, the collaboration between Mark Gantt and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn will continue as well!
Wondering how to get your creative ambitions realized? It’s important to carry the same spirit of creativity and innovation into your funding and marketing that you do in your acting and directing. Mark Gantt has definitely shown how to do it — and we foresee great things for him in the future!