The drive for "Donor" that keeps the film afloat are the duel performances and writing. Without them, "Donor" feels like an ultimately hazy and foggy film in regards toward its intent. It's a film that claims to be about god and love, but in the end I could never actually decide if "Donor" was about. Does it discourage donating eggs to help couples conceive since it may be against God? Is it for donating eggs? Is it merely an objective short film about a moment in a couple's life, meant to incite conversation among audiences? I could never quite be sure. In either case, "Donor" is a strong and very compelling short film thanks to the tight writing and excellent performances from the duel cast of Trevor Algatt and Alexis Boozer.
Meanwhile, the character of Sam seems to ride on the motives of helping people, while helping herself in the process. Mark Gantt directs the short with great directorial finesse, allowing the actors to keep the film moving along, and it works. I found the performances to be strong and very powerful and they really do add urgency to the plot and ultimate conflict involving religion, priority, and the future.
While I was never sure on the intent of the premise and mission behind, "Donor" is a very entertaining short film thanks to its set of powerful performances and good direction. This is definitely a thought provoking cinematic effort worthy of an audience.
Annie Takes Off is an exciting new webseries by some pretty fabulous people. I think many of us will be able to relate to the show just from the description provided on their Kickstarter page:
When Annie Smalls’ life falls apart — with men, her job and just about everything else — she has had enough and decides if she wants her life to get better, a whole lot better, she better make some big changes! So, she writes a list of the “50 MISTAKES I AM NO LONGER GOING TO MAKE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR” so that after the year, she’ll be in a much better place…she hopes! And because her new career, discovering new design talent throughout the globe, involves constant air-travel, each of the mistakes she has vowed to herself that she can no longer make, must be dealt with one at a time on each flight she takes. And now that she’s on an airplane and has nowhere to run, it’s that much more challenging for her — and a lot funnier for us.
If you are a fan of webseries, a fan of great entertainment, or perhaps a fan of both, I think you will be impressed with the list of names involved in the project. Personally, my interest in projects such as this has been growing since the typical television networks started to rely so heavily on reality shows and it has become so difficult for traditional television series to find a lasting place on our schedules. I have come to know Mark Gantt’s work in particular through Twitter, which led me to being able to conduct a short interview with him about Annie Takes Off.
The Kickstarter campaign has been very successful and only has a few days left but you can still head over to the page if you would like to be a part of this experience. I think you will find there are some great rewards being offered and there is a nice feeling of satisfaction that comes along with being involved, even in a small way.
Q: I know that you are very involved in Indie Entertainment. Why do you feel these projects are important for artists as well as fans of entertainment? Well, to be honest it comes more out of necessity over an altruistic belief that indie is better than mainstream or ‘studio’ productions. I’m sure if I was getting daily invites to come and join the Hollywood Studio party I wouldn’t turn it down. So it really comes out of the need to want to create and not wait for an invitation. When I first came to LA I had a very warped idea of how I thought it would go, fame and fortune would come quickly. As time went on and that didn’t happen, I was forced to look at the real reason I wanted that kind of success; I want to be liked, no sorry… loved, adored and part of the cool crowd. There I said it, I wanted it for all the wrong reasons. So when that realization hit home, I had to find it in myself to push past any fears I had about just going out and doing what I truly love doing – telling stories. I think the web over the last few years is having a similar transitional phase like Sundance did in the 80′s and 90′s. There, you saw the breakout of the indie filmmakers. I’ve been a big fan of auteurs like Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh. I think they all have very distinct voices and found ways to tell stories that they wanted to see themselves. That’s where we are now on the web. People are getting the opportunity to make things that they actually want to watch, not what an advertiser or stock holder thinks will sell soap or make money.
We are about to head on a four-month, 48-state road trip to help people across America bring their ideas to life and shine the light on some of the amazing entrepreneurs and communities. We believe there are awesome entrepreneurs everywhere, not just in the places constantly covered by the media. We want to help them, and will.
And you know, one of the communities that has some super remarkable entrepreneurs that doesn’t get enough credit is Los Angeles. There are hundreds of entrepreneurs here in Los Angeles who are building awesome companies, writing awesome books, making awesome movies and are trying to solve important problems to help make this world a better place.
Here are 63 Los Angeles entrepreneurs we can be proud of. If you or someone you know should be on this list, feel free to comment below.
Mark Gantt – Executive Producer of The Bannen Way
Mark Gantt is the Executive Producer, and Star of Sony Pictures Television’s web series, The Bannen Way, created by Jesse Warren & Mark Gantt. He plays a character named Neal Bannen who is a womanizing, con man and small-time thief who wants to start his life over. All he has to do is pull off one more job to pay off his debts.
Also mentioned are Bannen's ZACK ARNOLD and friend CHAD KUKAHIKO
Nearly one hundred talented Latino actors and actresses armed with headshots, demo reels and business cards brought their friendly faces and interesting personalities to the Actor Summit on Thursday, April 12, 2012. The National Association of Latino Independent Producers(NALIP) hosted the summit to kick off their annual conference-NALIP: Diverse Voices, Universal Content. It was an opportunity for performers to meet and network with professional filmmakers, producers and casting directors. The Actor Summit took place at the Wizards Theatre on CityWalk at Universal City.
One of the popular panels was on how to use New media to keep careers from stalling. "I suggested to NALIP that we bring in actors who have successfully used the new media to get seen by Directors, Entertainment Executives, and Producers," he said. The workshop entitled 'How to create, produce and star in your own webisodes!' featured Ruth Livier, Mark Gantt and Julia Ahumada Grob. All started as actors but took their careers to new levels by creating their own content to showcase their talents. "These actors grew beyond the "normal" actor roles and became producers, writers, and even executive producers of their product. Hollywood is beating down the doors to get to these resourceful actors," Fairbanks added.
Gantt co-created the award-winning The Bannen Way, an American crime drama. Gantt, who stars as Neal Bannen, the main character, stated, "I couldn't even get co-star roles. I had an acting teacher who said create your own stuff, build your own door and walk through it." Gantt followed that advice and has not looked back since. He shared, "I wrote something that was me. After 19 days of shooting, I have confidence that I'm an actor and I'm a filmmaker."
Hunger Games fan series “Star Squad” gears up for production
Wildly successful veterans from the web series world are making a new series in the Hunger Games universe, and they need your help to make “Star Squad” happen.
Woody Tondorf has well over 48 million views on YouTube for his show “Elevator.” He also happens to be a huge fan of The Hunger Games. When he teamed up with Caroline Framke, who writes for the Hulu show “The Morning After,” they ended up expanding on the world of the Hunger Games and creating their own series. Now they’re ready to make it a reality.
“Star Squad” is 3 episodes, but think of them more as “acts” instead of episodes. Act One sits at about 14 pages, and that’s the shorter one. We can probably expect the run-time for the whole series to be around an hour. That’s a lot of Hunger Games and could definitely hold fans over between the Hunger Games feature film (not related) and the sequel, Catching Fire, set to be released in November, 2013.
They’ve already lined up some amazing cast that they’ll be rolling out over the next few days. The first cast member they released is Cressida played by Tonya Kay . I don’t know about you but their propos picture of Cressida is exactly the way I had her pictured in my head.
But Tonya Kay is just the tip of the iceberg. They have done some brilliant casting and the announcements they’ll be making over the next few days will definitely make you even more excited to see the show. I’m really excited about … well I can’t really tell you until they release the names. But I’ll post more info here as it comes out.
Brendan Bradley pairs with Youtube’s “Mystery Guitar Man” for new original series
YouTube’s famed Mystery Guitar Man, Joe Penna, and multi-award winning producer Brendan Bradley (Squatters) have joined forces to present a groundbreaking, original sci-fi series, ONCE UPON. Premiering Nov 22nd on MGM’s channel with new episodes every Tuesday, this serialized fairy tale explores the origin of Joe Penna’s “little guy” with enviable performances from Taryn O’Neill (ElfQuest Fan Imagining, After judgement), Mark Gantt (The Bannen Way) and America Young (Goodnight Burbank, Comediva).
YouTube’s beloved “Princesstard” from ShayCarl’s Shaytards makes her scripted, serial debut while Penna (who also directs) stars as 3 diverse characters.
Over the past year a lot of debate and controversy has surrounded the rivalry of YouTube and Webseries artists, but Penna and Bradley’s partnership brings the best of both worlds to the digital space. Subscribe to Mystery Guitar Man on YouTube for new episodes and bonus videos every week.