News & Updates

  • TV Fellowship Class Drama with Davy Perez

    Posted by on April 01, 2016

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    It’s fellowship season again, a time when legions of aspiring TV Writers battle for a coveted spot in the Writer’s Rooms of ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox on the hottest new shows. Unfortunately the process is grueling (application, resume, personal statement, spec and original material samples, references, multiple elimination rounds, and endless interviews) and only a fraction of a percent are selected. What you need is your own personal Yoda to help you train. In this five-week Los Angeles TV Drama Writers Fellowship Bootcamp, Davy Perez (2014 ABC Fellow, AMERICAN CRIME) takes you through the process, honing your spec through table reads, finding your compelling personal story, and prepping you for the most grueling interviews of your life. ABC Fellowship Manager Emerlynn Lampitoc will be visiting the class to explain the rigorous selection process, offer insight, and discuss success strategies and common pitfalls. By the end of the class, you will be ready to present the best you to the selection committee and break through the sound barrier. Fellowship spot not included.

     

    Instructor: Davy Perez
    April 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17 (4 Tues. Nights)
    7:00-10:30 p.m.
    Cost: $595 (include snacks and tea)
    Location: Writing Pad East (688 South Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90021)

     

    For more information, go to writingpad.com

  • Filmmakers Use iPhones to Make New Movie

    Posted by on April 01, 2016

    by Greg Flakus

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    One of the films shown last week at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas was “9 Rides,” the story of a depressed, introspective limo driver in Los Angeles and the various people who ride with him one dark night.

    “We were shooting at four or five in the morning and there was nobody outside and it was real cool,” Director Mathew Cherry said. “It added to the loneliness and the overall aesthetic of the movie.”

    Cherry, who had made several short films prior to “9 Rides,” said he was inspired to do this full-length narrative film after seeing the critically acclaimed movie “Locke,” in which actor Tom Hardy portrays a character going through a personal crisis by driving at night and talking on his cell phone with various people. Cherry was impressed with the idea that a gripping dramatic film could consist of one man confined in a vehicle for an hour and a half.

    iPhone cameras

    Working with a small budget, Cherry decided to take advantage of the 4K resolution of Apple’s iPhone 6S to make his film which features a number of characters, but takes place entirely inside a car. He used several iPhones mounted in and on the vehicle.

    “We literally drove on the 405 [freeway] at 60-miles-an hour with iPhones suction-cupped to the hood of the car and they never fell off,” he said.

    This is not the first movie shot on an iPhone. Last year, critics praised the film “Tangerine,” which featured transvestites and other colorful characters in Los Angeles and was shot on an iPhone 5S, which shoots high definition, but not 4K.

    To achieve a widescreen effect, “Tangerine” employed an anamorphic lens attachment that slips over the corner of the iPhone. Cherry liked the look and decided to use the same kind of lens on his iPhone 6 cameras. Using this together with the application Filmic Pro, he was able to produce professional quality images that show crisp detail.

    Achieving a professional look

    In order to capture everything he needed, Cherry carefully positioned the iPhones.

    “We had two iPhones on the front of the car,” he explained. “One iPhone was on the left side of the hood and one was on the right side of the hood.”

    That way, he said, he had video showing each side of the interior of the car as seen through the windshield, plus whatever could be seen outside as the car roamed the streets and highways.

    He also had iPhones attached to a tracking car to get shots of the limousine and on the front of the vehicle facing forward to shoot the environment through which it moved. He himself lay hidden behind the actors in the vehicle’s farthest-back seat, listening to the dialogue and monitoring the video shots. He shot multiple takes and a lot of the roadways in order to have enough video to work with in editing and post production.

    Shaping the film in the edit

    In the editing, Cherry was able to create a dramatic flow from the actors’ improvised interaction in the vehicle. He said the editing process was challenging, but it was from that process that “9 Rides” took shape. He wrote a very loose script and relied on his talented actors to improvise most of the lines and their reactions to other actors’ lines.

    “To me, I think it made for very realistic dialogue and very realistic reactions,” said Cherry.

    When they took the film around to potential distributors, producer Jerome Caldwell found it can be difficult to sell a movie that was shot on an iPhone.

    “They think we are just holding the phones up, shooting like regular people,” he said, “so we may show them a picture of what it looked like with the grip and the lens and they are like,'That’s an iPhone?’”

    Cherry, who left a potential career in professional football to follow his film-making passion, hopes to follow “9 Rides” with more such films. Jerome Caldwell thinks the film will also inspire other creative people with a story to tell.

    He said, “I think the way the film came out, so amazing and so ‘crispy,’ as I like to say, I think more people will want to shoot on iPhones going forward.”

    Both men say that the camera does not matter as much as the acting talent in front of the lens and the quality of the story they portray.

     

    Check this out on voanews.com

  • With the Release of Oculus Rift Cinema will Never be the Same

    Posted by on March 31, 2016

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    The Spectator

    Oculus Rift. It sounds like something from a science fiction novel, and in many ways it is. Its release this week is the first stirring of a future stuffed with virtual reality headsets. The hope of its Californian engineers and their bitcoin backers is that we, the consumers, will soon use them to spend a whole lot of time outside of our lives. Strap the goggles to your face, position the headphones over your ears, press the on button, and — bzzzztp — you’re in a different world.

    The question is, who will create these worlds? The first prototype of the Oculus Rift was built five years ago by an 18-year-old called Palmer Luckey, and he had an 18-year-old’s use for it: video games. Luckey was obsessed with video games to the point where he wanted to jump in and feel as though he were walking around them. Others had this yearning too. Big shots in the gaming industry tried out Luckey’s tech, and various light bulbs, cash registers and bugle calls went off in their heads. This, they thought, would be a playground for game designers and gamers.

    Five years later, Luckey is many millions of dollars richer, and his creation is still marketed more as a gaming device than anything else. But other art forms are now being co-opted to the cause — including cinema. At last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Oculus didn’t just announce the birth of their Story Studio, they also showed baby’s first movie. This five-minute animated short, called Lost and directed by a former employee of Pixar, places its begoggled viewers in the middle of a forest. They look around. What’s that in the undergrowth? Oh, it’s a severed robotic hand. Can you hear that noise? It’s the robot coming to find it.

    Lost has since been surpassed by another film from the Oculus Story Studio. This one, Henry, brings us into the house of an animated hedgehog as he prepares for his birthday party. The plot, to the extent that there is one, is sweet but not exactly cutting edge: poor Henry is lonely because his spikes keep him out of hug’s reach of other cartoon critters. What is cutting edge is the way Henry communicates his sadness — by finding and gazing into the viewer’s eyes. He acknowledges your presence because, in a weird sort of way, that’s what you are: present.

    Of course, it’s not actually Henry doing this (sorry, kids). This cutesy little hedgehog seems to know where you are in his house because he has been coded that way, making this as much a computer program as a traditional movie. In fact, both Henry and Lost were realised in a program known as Unreal Engine 4 that is normally used for making video games. They are not so far removed from what Luckey envisioned for his headset in the first place.

    But not all VR movies are related to video games, nor even animated. For their documentary-style short Waves of Grace, Gabo Arora and Chris Milk took a camera capable of shooting in 360 degrees into the all-round horror of Liberia’s ebola outbreak. Among the sights they captured is an open grave as a phalanx of health workers drop off yet another body. You can look down into it. There’s no need for the interactive trickery of Henry here. People still seem to meet your gaze, but in fact they were looking at the camera as it passes them by.

    Filmmakers will have to learn new methods if they want to work in these virtual realities — and so will their audiences. Ever since its beginning, cinema has had a certain kind of fixity to it. We all see the same images on the screen, even if we interpret them in different ways. But now, with VR movies, people can choose their own images like never before. An expensive action sequence can be a great nothingness if viewers decide to stare at a pretty extra instead. Dialogue can be turned into a voiceover narration with a twist of the neck. Editing and camera angles lose meaning.

    This might even provoke some good old-fashioned moral dilemmas. Critics talk about a sex scene or a murder being shot ‘tastefully’ if the camera retreats from the stickiest or bloodiest moments. So what does it say about you, you sicko, if you keep on watching? If you lean in for closer look?

    The real test will come if — or when — the interactive promise ofHenry coalesces with the live-action filmmaking that we are used to. A virtual reality remake of Titanic could allow you to push Leo overboard and make off with Kate in a lifeboat, well before any icebergs heave into view. Movies could become participatory in ways that not only pornographers will exploit.

    All of this might sound preposterous. Perhaps it is. There are various impediments to be overcome before we can watch Titanic: With a Vengeance, some of which are technological, many of which are to do with the marketplace. At £499, Oculus Rift isn’t cheap. Neither is one of its early rivals, the £689 HTC Vive. These headsets might not be priced to catch on, particularly if they are uncomfortable to wear. There are already concerns that some people get motion sickness when they look around a virtual world.

    But film fans should refrain from dismissing virtual reality as a gimmick just yet, not least because film has done very well out of gimmicks. Its practitioners began by blending photography and music and theatre, and then they added talking, colour, special effects and 3-D along the way. Even the failures, such as Hans Laube’s infamous Smell-O-Vision, have been successes of a sort. They are all part of the constant technological striving that, to some extent, defines cinema as a medium.

    Who knows? Perhaps this endless evolution will take us outside of cinema itself, into the unknown, and cause us to rewrite our previous definitions. The mighty Werner Herzog, who recently completed a documentary about our digitised world, seems to believe that this is where virtual reality belongs already.

    ‘I am convinced that this is not going to be an extension of cinema or 3-D cinema or video games,’ he told the New Yorker recently. ‘It is something new, different, and not experienced yet.’

    Well, Werner, pop down to your local Currys — we can all experience it now.

    Check this out at www.spectator.co.uk

  • Al Madrigal to Present Conversation on Latino Comedy and Media During 17th Annual NALIP Media Summit, to Be Held June 23-26

    Posted by on March 25, 2016

    Al_Madrigal.pngAl Madrigal

    Los Angeles, Calif. (March 24, 2016) – Comedic powerhouse, producer, writer, actor, director and media entrepreneur Al Madrigal has been confirmed to present a signature conversation on June 25 during the 17th annual NALIP Media Summit. The annual Summit, focusing on the Latino and Latina (also known collectively as Latinx) media community and advancing the next generation of content creators, will take place at the Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood on June 23-26.

    The largest annual gathering of Latinos in media nationwide, the NALIP Media Summit is presented by HBO and hosted by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. With the continuing conversation on the lack of diversity in Hollywood, NALIP’s Latino Media Summit is focused this year on the inclusive theme #CreateWithUs.

    For the last 17 years the annual NALIP Media Summit has attracted Latino content creators, industry executives and media from around the globe for four days of panels, workshops, screenings, showcases and invaluable networking opportunities. The Summit builds on the mission of NALIP, a nonprofit organization seeking to empower content creators and propel their projects and careers.

    The NALIP Latino Media Awards, set for the evening of Saturday, June 25, will celebrate the best Latino media makers. Last year’s honorees included Raquel Welch, Dascha Polanco and Eugenio Derbez, among others. The Latino Media Market will run concurrently with the Summit on June 24-26, bringing together producers with studio execs, financiers, distributors and agents to advance projects to the next level.

    A Conversation with Al, featuring Al Madrigal, promises to be an insightful, interactive and lively discussion, accompanied by an exciting announcement during the live event. Madrigal will also bring an entourage of comedic talent to take part in this much-needed dialogue, helping to lead a call-to-action for the discovery, incubation, engagement and fostering of comedic talent emerging from the community.

    A stand-up comedian for over 18 years, Madrigal has found success as an actor, correspondent and podcaster. This summer he begins production on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, starring as a series regular with Melissa Leo, and also serving as a consulting producer of the Jim Carrey- produced project. A regular correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan and The Late, Late Show, in 2013 he starred in his first hour-long stand-up special, Why Is the Rabbit Crying, on Comedy Central. Last year he released his award-winning and critically acclaimed docu-comedy Half Like Me. As an actor, Madrigal has been seen on such film and television projects as About A Boy, Free Agents, Welcome to the Captain, Gary Unmarried, The Tax Men and as the lead in The Ortegas. He is also partnered with Bill Burr in the All Things Comedy network (ATC), a podcast and video network founded, owned and operated entirely by comedians.

    “I am thrilled and honored to be part of NALIP Media Summit. Today’s media landscape is one fueled by an empowered Latino voice and an ever growing community of creators. We want to show exactly the type of talent we can bring to the table. We are not only urging the industry to come and create with us but we are encouraging a new generation of Latino artists, writers, comedians, producers and directors to come and bring their much needed talent and create with all of us together. Let’s be proactive and start taking steps to team up and create undeniable content. It’s about getting to work and making it happen.” said Al Madrigal.

    “Al Madrigal’s prolific talents as a strong, positive and distinct Latino voice are amplified by his strong commitment to the community, using his own platform to create greater awareness and action,” stated Axel Caballero, executive director of NALIP. “We look forward to A Conversation with Al and his insights into the ongoing discussion of diversity in Hollywood, helping to further pave the way for the next generation of content creators.”

    About NALIP

    The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) seeks to inspire, promote,and advocate for Latino content creators in media. As an established non-profit organization,NALIP advances the development of Latino content creation through its programs focusing on narrative, documentary, TV, and digital formats. For more information, visit http://www.nalip.org./

     

    This is NALIP's first 2016 Media Summit announcement, stay tuned as there are more to come!

    Want a Media Summit pass? Click HERE to purchase one with our Blind Sale rate!

  • Tomorrow’s Filmmakers, Today Program

    Posted by on March 25, 2016

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    Hola Mexico Film Festival is seeking 30 talented hispanic filmmakers between the ages of 18 to 30 years old from the greater eastern part of Los Angeles County to apply to this unique, fully funded opportunity:

    UNAM – Hola Mexico Film Festival

    Tomorrow’s Filmmakers, Today Program

    Our intensive filmmaking program will provide our participants a unique opportunity to interact with prominent Hollywood and Mexican Filmmakers through classes, seminars, studio visits and film screenings during 10 days of the 8th annual Hola Mexico film Festival from May 13 to May 22, 2016.

    The program includes:

    • Visit to CAA and meetings with agents
    • Visit to film studios and conversations with executives
    • Panel on Cinematography
    • Production classes
    • Opportunity to watch all films of the festival
    • Ten days of networking opportunities with directors, producers and actors

    The program is designed for actors, writers, directors, producers and cinematographers with produced work and relevant, current experience in short film, feature film or any form of entertainment.

    If you know someone that would benefit from this opportunity please submit your nomination to: [email protected]

    The selected participants will receive a full-tuition scholarship award thanks to the support of the Eastside Arts Initiative.

    The application deadline is Friday, April 15.

    Check this out on holamexicoff.com 

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  • Comcast And The U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development Announce Pilot Program To Close The Digital Divide

    Posted by · March 25, 2016

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    Comcast recently announced Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest high-speed Internet program for low-income families, has connected 600,000 families, or 2.4 million low-income Americans, to the Internet at home. Comcast also announced a new pilot program, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ConnectHome initiative, to extend Internet Essentials to public housing residents in Miami-Dade County, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

    To read more, check this out on Comcast.com

  • Hulu’s ‘Citizen’ Pilot Adds ‘American Crime’ Alum to Cast

    Posted by · March 25, 2016

    By

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    thewrap.com

    Johnny Ortiz to play recurring role on Alfonso Gomez-Rejon drama.

    Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s Hulu pilot “Citizen” has added “American Crime” alum Johnny Ortiz to cast.

    The show is described as a fresh take on the hero origin story blending elements of magical realism and gritty vigilantism against the backdrop of the vibrant world of east Los Angeles.

    Ortiz is taking on the role of Rusty, an ill-tempered gangbanger and a member of the baby Narcos; his role will recur in multiple episodes should the pilot be picked up to series

    Gomez-Rejon is writing the pilot with Josh Pate and Nicholas Schutt, in addition to executive producing. David Kanter, Matt DeRoss and Steve Golin of Anonymous Content will also executive produce. Anonymous will produce along with Paramount Television.

    Ortiz played the role of Tony Gutierrez on Season 1 of ABC’s “American Crime,” and his other credits include TNT series “Southland” and Disney’s “MacFarland, USA.” He is represented by Cutler Management and APA.

     

    Check this out on thewrap.com