Welcome to my world. I'm an actor who hates waiting for shit to happen... So I create... One of the projects I'm most proud of is my Streamy award winning series I co-created and starred in called The Bannen Wayfor Sony's Crackle.com.
So browse around - check out latest projects, videos, photos, news, blog posts and connect with me on the interwebs.
Neal Bannen wants to get out of the criminal lifestyle forever… but he owes $150,000 to the notorious prison gangster Sonny Carr. After failing to triple his money and losing all his money in a poker game, Bannen’s forced to do one more job.
Buy Bannen on Amazon
My new photography site is up and running. You can check out all my new photos as well as order limited edition, signed, and numbered giclee prints.
Past Events 2011
Dexter episode airs on Showtime
New series Once Upon by YouTube genius Myster Guitar Man launches. New episode every Tuesday.
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.
It's one thing to write something as your bio on Twitter and another to actually do it. I've spent the last two and half years after The Bannen Way release, developing projects for me to star in or direct. The journey at times has felt like I was going to the same well only to find no water. I've pitched shows, shot sizzle reels, spent umpteen hours taking meetings around town and developing and reworking projects. And yet during that time, I've worked like crazy as an actor and director on projects that include web series, shorts, features, commercials and even a guest spot on Showtime's Dexter. So things have definitely changed since Bannen. I've also been fortunate to work with some of the most talented, prolific and successful actor/filmmakers in the New Media space including Felicia Day, Mystery Guitar Man, Jon Lajoie, Taryn Southern, Yuri Baranovsky and Wilson Cleveland. This group of actor/filmmakers inspire me to keep creating, keep shooting and not to give up.
I was recently asked by a friend of mine, Marvin Acuna to create a twelve week online course to help screenwriters break into Hollywood through New Media for his awesome screenwriters site The Business of Show Institute. The idea was that it would be a version of my web series workshop broken up into twelve 7 to 10 minute videos that dovetailed with each other, so by the end you'd be able to go out and shoot your own project. I was to come up with the videos and assign a homework assignment for each week. At first I thought this should be pretty straight forward. I'd just take the workshop syllabus and break it up into twelve sections. Easier said than done. So many things came up as I was working on this, the first was my own bullshit that I didn't actually know what I was doing and that I was a fraud. The aforementioned struggles selling another project were looming in my mind. Did I just get lucky with Bannen? Was I a one hit wonder? If I knew what I was talking about, I should have hit it again. All of these things you can imagine were keeping me from actually being productive and doing me a disservice.
I turned my attention to why I did the workshops in the first place. I like helping people. I love inspiring people, sharing my experience, strength and hope with others. After Bannen was released I had over 40 'coffee meetings' with aspiring filmmakers and actors who wanted to create their own web series. I realized that after even a two hour chat, most people left with more questions and felt overwhelmed. I thought if I did like a six hour course where I walked through our process of Bannen and shared about all the things I learned with others, I could save people from the mistakes we made as well as all the stuff we learned along the way. I hooked back into that purpose and started from the beginning of the process.
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."
Begin filming THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY starring Mark Gantt, Jennifer Blanc, Caitlin Carmichael, Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Hudson Pischer and Chip Coffey. The film will be directed by Brianne Davis.
THE NIGHT VISITOR screens as part of the ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FESTIVAL in San Francisco.
Shooting Los Angeles portion of THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT
Mark begins shooting lead role in THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT, written and directed by Antoni Sole. Shooting in Barcelona, Spain.
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.