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.
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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.
Check out the latest videos and clips from my projects and my favorite videos.
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.
THE BANNEN WAY is a sexy crime series with elements of action, comedy and a bit of thriller thrown in for good measure. Most importantly the series has fun with itself, as it chronicles Neal Bannen (Mark Gantt), a con man attempting reform. He guides himself with a series of rules--“The Bannen Way”--which are weaved throughout the story when they apply to the often tumultuous situations he finds himself in. Neal is caught in a bit of a conundrum with a father who is a cop and an uncle who holds onto his grandfather’s mob legacy both pulling him in different paths. Neal is confident and always looks for the angle; the trick is to see him navigate an ever-increasingly complicated landscape where options disappear as quickly as they appear. The cast is amazing with Michael Ironside as the father and Robert Forrester as the uncle, and let’s not forget Vanessa Marcil as the sexy pickpocket with suspect motivations. Neal is set on a mission to procure an object that will clear his debts and allow him a way out of the life he leads.
My hat is off to Mark Gantt and Jesse Warren for creating something interesting and fun to watch. Like most people, I like to be surprised and I found this be well-written without the obvious “I saw that coming a mile away” moments that hamper so may stories today. Not surprisingly with something based on a con man seeking reform or more importantly a way out of the life, this series was full of twists and turns. I got a bit of a Guy Richie vibe with the rules he lives by and the way the story unfolds without all of the spastic editing that sends parts of the population into epileptic fits. The series was smart and very sexy, as Neal Bannen is a bit of a ladies’ man. Seeing what content creators can do with a bit of money always makes me wonder how Hollywood produces so much crap when this kind of talent is available.
The writing in the series was tight, as any good web content has to have; otherwise we’re bound to click on onto the next thing. The plot entwines the different pieces of Neal’s life nicely as the pressure is amplified episode to episode, making it ideal for the web. The cast ismarvelous and I found it a real treat to see actors I liked so much turn up in such good roles. The whole series is a real gem and I encourage anyone who likes this genre to tune in.
patience 1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay:to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience. persist
1. to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.: to persist in working for world peace; to persist in unpopular political activities.
2. to last or endure tenaciously: The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
3. to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.
1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
3. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
4. a state of bodily equilibrium: He lost his balance and fell down the stairs.
SPOILER ALERT: I don't have the magic formula for this.
I don't, I wish I did, but sadly it's something I struggle with all the time. I recently had several conversations with actor and filmmaker friends on the subject and realized one of of us was talking the other off the ledge. Am I supposed to be patient and let go of the results or am I afraid of doing the next step to achieve my goals? And am I enjoying my life and the journey or just focussing on my career and not being present.
It reminds me of the John Lennon lyrics "Life is what happens to you. While you're busy making other plans."
On The Comedy Rich Web, An Elite Group Of Dramas Break Through, These Are Their Stories
The creators of web series "Anyone But Me," "The Bannen Way," and "Robert Townsend's Diary of a Single Mom"--and the web sites that host them--talk about the challenges facing online shows that aren't all about laughs LOLCats.
Dina Kaplan, a co-founder of blip.tv, says she thinks it may take one to two years for drama to really make a splash online. She offered her perspective on four keys to making online drama click.
Unlike television, it’s hard to promise or predict the amount of eyeballs necessary to recoup production costs from shooting a drama. “It's been harder for scripted dramas to succeed because their costs are higher making the margins for profit slimmer,” Kaplan says. “The successful series are riding the margins. We need a little more time for more money to flow into the market.”
Many original series post on sites like Kaplan’s blip.tv, which acts much like a television network and shares revenue made from online ads with producers. But there’s also the rare show that takes its content straight to the big boys for a deal. Take the creators of the hit Crackle.com action-packed crime drama The Bannen Way. They produced a high-quality pilot to shop around before landing a deal with Sony, which eventually led to 13 million streams of the show on Sony's Crackle site.While it’s unclear whether or not there will be a second season, the first season is available on DVD and there are murmurs of developing it into a television series.
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.
Critic's Notebook: Web TV is just waiting to click
Online television has yet to catch on like the traditional format, but it's just barely getting started and hubs like Hulu, Crackle and Koldcast point to a wide-open future.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic June 26, 2011
Kiefer Sutherland, the star of "24," and John Hurt, the eminent British thespian, recently joined forces, playing opposite each other in "The Confession," a sort of short feature about a hit man and a priest. I say "sort of" because "The Confession" was created specifically to go online, in installments — there are 10 of them, averaging about seven minutes each; they ran from the end of March to the beginning of May on the video-streaming website Hulu. So it is a sort of television series as well, though one whose entire season lasts in the aggregate not much more than an hour...
Nevertheless, as improving varieties of streaming media become an increasingly popular way to watch what once could be seen only on an actual television set or in a theater, distribution points such as Hulu have begun to act as networks or studios. (Hulu, which has just been up for sale, is actually owned in common by several of them.) Sony Pictures' Crackle has some of the Web's flashier offerings, including "The Bannen Way," with its wiseguy con-man hero, stylish split screens and hot-girl assassins; "Angel of Death," penned by comic-book writer Ed Brubaker, with Zoe Bell ("Tarantino's #1 stunt woman") as a hired killer who acquires the compulsion to kill her old masters; and the sci-fi "Trenches," picked up from Disney's now-defunct Stage 9 Digital, which sports impressive "Battlestar Galactica" special effects. All have completed their single seasons but remain available for download in the timelessness of the Web.
Mark Nominated for 2 BANFF Interactive Rockies Awards
The Bannen Way - Episode "The Prep Day" Created & Written by Jesse Warren & Mark Gantt Executive Produced by Mark Gantt & Jesse Warren Directed by Jesse Warren
Suite 7 - Episode "Company" Written by Yuri Baranovsky Executive Produced by Wilson Cleveland Directed by Mark Gantt
Nominees of the 2011 Rockies Program Competition announced!
After reviewing over nine-hundred entries from around the world, our international juries have singled out the best programs and projects from the past year. Winners will be announced at one of three special Rockies awards ceremonies taking place during the Festival.
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.