Monday, November 25, 2013

Ad Lucem


            

            Hello friends, I hope you had a great weekend and that you’re looking forward to Thanksgiving because I know I am. It is an honor to share with you Ad Lucem, a short film I had the pleasure of working on back in September. This is a three-part music video for Queensrÿche, a progressive heavy metal band that started in the 80s and has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
           
            The Veva Entertainment Co. production is produced by Marco De Molina and directed by Daniel Andres Gomez Bagby. The duo was kind enough to answer some questions, making this my third “Q&A session” on my blog. (You can check out the previous one by clicking here). So for those of you interested in producing or directing, I hope this Q&A is resourceful.

MARCO DE MOLINA (PRODUCER)



What was the most challenging aspect of producing this short?

Logistics. We had the band available for only two days since they were getting ready to go on tour, so we had to coordinate numerous things around these dates. Locations, talent, crew, equipment, etc. I had to work many deals on many different levels to make it work because we shot on a Monday. And as you know, in L.A., if you shoot over the weekend, you get equipment One-day rentals over the weekend, so, that was a challenge. 

We were fortunate to have Brian Krause, Cathy Baron, Erik Aude, and R.J. Adams, who were interested in the project and came on board – they have busy schedules, so we needed to also find a way to accommodate them into the mix too.  

When we realized the actual magnitude of our project, and the considerable amount of setups, and sets we needed to pull it off, it is when we decided to shoot with two cameras, which will allow us to move faster. But as you know, more cameras, more crew, more money. So we needed to be very savvy about where to allocate our resources the best. It is sad that we had to scratch a scene altogether so we could get the best piece. We were a little bummed out because we were excited about shooting that particular scene, but it was simply not possible. So Daniel Gomez and Christian Moldes (they both wrote the screenplay) needed to re-write things. There were still changes even the night before the shoot that the script needed to be adjusted to. It was great working with both of them on this level. Producers always feel like the bad guys because they say yes or no to things based on costs/availability. So it is great to have a team that understands that, and vice versa. We all want what's best for the project. And we did it.

We looked into different locations, studios, stages, etc. We like to build our own worlds, and we are fans of practical effects, so we were very fortunate when our 1st AD, Gus Peña, mentioned to Daniel Gomez and I about Central City Stages. We went to check them out and they were just wonderful. They worked with us and it made the best spot for our production.

The day of the shoot we had about 60 people on set, between crew and talent, and we had about 42 setups to go through in 12 hours! There were multiple sets we had to build and dress the day before and during the shoot. I knew that it was imperative we needed to be as proactive as possible. So, there was never any downtime for, literally, anyone.  But, by the time camera wrapped, we were only waiting for DIT and we were out of there. 

We have stellar teams and crew. Everyone knows each other. How everyone works. It's our family. And I must admit, one thing I am proud of is that, even at crunch times, everyone is still enjoying themselves and having fun, loving what they're doing. This makes crazy challenging days a simple joy.

What is the most valuable lesson you obtained after finishing the project?

Being resourceful. Always work with people that care about things just as much as you do – definitely key for great results.

How did you come across Queensrÿche?

It was cool because I was at a concert when I met Queensrÿche's A&R and he said the band had seen what we did for Buckcherry's "Nothing Left But Tears" video and that they were interested in working with us. We were immediately excited [and flattered], so a conference call was arranged, we listened to their ideas and off we went to create the treatment. They were excited about our proposal of making a short film instead of a music video.

How is your relationship with Daniel and how does it help (and maybe challenge) with the fruition of your projects?

Daniel and I have a great working relationship. It is rare when you can find someone that you can be and perform without having to worry about the other person, or a person having to worry about you. We both know what we have to do, and we love what we do. The best thing is we are always there to help each other's job be better and make the best project always. We have an inside joke that we simply do not share the same taste in movies, and at times aesthetics of things, but it is the "perfect-different". And due to this fact we've gotten far cooler ideas, that otherwise would have been, perhaps average, if we always liked the same things. We respect and share a mutual admiration for our skills, and we take each other very serious – but, on top of it all, I think a great thing is that we do not take ourselves, individually, too serious, so at the end of the day, literally, no matter how exhausted we may be, we always share a laugh recapping our work day over a beer. Couldn't ask for better.

Which is your favorite scene in the video?

If I had to pick, I'd say the hospital scene when Cathy and Geoff meet while he's all bruised up. I was a little bit worried if the chemistry would be there between them, given that we had very little time to work with them prior to the shoot. People we knew had worked with them separately so they came recommended. So I was very pleased that they both looked good together and the relationship does come across. They have some nice moments and smiles. And another scene I really like is Cathy going into labor – it's gruesome to me. Daniel and Kris Carrillo, our DP, did a wonderful job at capturing the moment, the pain, and then the way Zac Surprenant edited the scene, it is one of those moments you feel you did something cool. Hard scene to watch though, but it is "cool.”

What inspires you to be a producer and who influences you?

My inspiration comes from just wanting to entertain. Simple. It is a great satisfaction to me, for example, that Queensrÿche has millions of fans worldwide, and here we are creating something special for them. That to me is the whole reason why. Entertaining. At the same time, movies, music, and media, are the strongest form of art in our era, and like throughout the passing of times and history, it is art that has defined us as cultures and generations, etc. So, yes, I just want to entertain, and contribute to society through our art form. And, it's fun at the same time!  

Who influences me? My team does. They're my force.


DANIEL ANDRES GOMEZ BAGBY (DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER)



What was the most challenging aspect of directing this short?

The need to shoot it in one day because of budget restraints. The continuous changes that had to happen last minute to be able to fit everything in one day. With that said, we did not have the opportunity to shoot more than 2-3 takes. Making it work at such a high speed was a challenge, not only for me but for the actors and the crew as well.

What is the most valuable lesson you obtained after finishing the project?

It’s dangerous to be over ambitious.  Not saying it's wrong, but you are walking on thin ice.  Though sometimes that type of risks can lead to great things.

How is your relationship with Marco and how does it help (and maybe challenge) with the fruition of your projects?

Marco and I are completely opposite in a great majority of things. Taste, looks, etc, which has worked for us because we end up complementing each other. We both know what the goal is, and we both don't step on each other’s toes. So, we work together seamlessly never losing focus of the finish line.

Which is your favorite scene in the video?

The scene I like the most is the childbirth scene. A new life is born and a life is taken away. A beautiful tragedy.

What inspires you to be a director, where do you get your vision from and what do you do to translate it on screen?

What inspires me, is that moment when you go to the theater, you sit down, silence your phone and disconnect from the real world and engulf yourself in a completely fictional world.  That experience inspires me.  Of course the need to tell the story, the art of filmmaking are both forms of inspiration and that goes without saying, but it’s the experience of the audience that inspire me. Be it good or bad.

My vision comes from many different places. Some ideas are born in dreams, others in open conversations with friends, over a couple drinks, and sometimes the visions are fed to you with concepts and you go from there, other visions come from experiences in your daily life or past events. There is no particular place where the vision comes from.  After you have a set vision/idea/concept you write down, put it on paper and see where this process takes you. It's crazy how much it changes over time, evolving into something that you would have never thought of had you not start writing it. After this, you go through all the nuts and bolts to produce it and make it happen. You work with every head of department and you make sure everyone is on the same page of what the vision is. Set a style and mood with your director of photography and you work with your actors so that your characters are alive and well. I don't believe it’s any different or unusual from any other director... It all comes down to how prepared you are, how many problems you solved ahead of time in every aspect and most importantly having fun with it.

Can you name some actors you'd kill to work with? Why?

Kevin Spacey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep… There are so many. And why? Why not? Their work speaks for itself.

            As I did on my last blogpost, I apologize for taking an inordinate amount of time to add content to the blog. I’ve been quite occupied with the new show I’m working on, but hopefully that will change a little this Thanksgiving week. 




Photos Courtesy of Pascal Halim Photography

Monday, October 7, 2013

Reflection on Los Angeles



            Hello friends and visitors, I’d like to begin with an apology for taking such an extensive leave of absence! I graduated with my masters on August 9th, left Orlando two days later, spent a week in my hometown(s) (Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas), and finally relocated to the city of angels!



            I’ve been here about a month and a half and it is hard to believe I still have no Internet; however, that’s not the only reason why I haven’t blogged, I’ve been quite busy. I’ve had the chance to catch up with many of my friends from college and I have worked on several projects.

            I worked a few days as a production assistant on a short indie titled Modern Problems. This took place in the flower and fashion districts of LA. The story is about a Los Angeles couple and their relationship issues.
I also ran some errands for Toby, my boss in Orlando, and had the opportunity to catch up and meet some amazing people.
Another project I worked on was a three-part music video for legendary 80s rock band Queensryche. I was a production coordinator and I feel blessed to have met producer Marco De Molina from Veva Entertainment Co. He has been a mentor for me and I’ve learned a lot about production from him during my time here. The final cut is locked, but now they’re working on color correction and sound. It’s scheduled to be released next week, so keep an eye for a blogpost on that along with a Q&A with the director.
Last but not least, I worked as a stand-in and extra on season two of ABC’s The Taste. That was a fun gig because we shot at the "The Voice" soundstage in Universal Studios. I met a bunch of wonderful people.

            This blogpost is a reflection on Los Angeles, a city that definitely makes you tougher and smarter in a way. I love the vibe, the sunsets, and the fact that there’s always something fun to do. I visited the GRAMMY museum, went to the Griffith Observatory, attended a live taping of Chelsea Lately, among other things. It reminds me of this blogpost I wrote last year where I debate if I should move here or not. I’m glad I did.

            To end this note, I think I was meant to fall in love with movies, television, and entertainment in general before I was born. They’ve always captivated me, they inspire and influence me in various ways, and they are what I want to be a part of for the rest of my life. A friend of mine recently wrote a quote on her Facebook account that goes like this: “Does this mean that you can be anything you want to be when you grow up? Well, that's certainly the American dream. But it's also the American myth! It's democratic and reflects our national character to say that anyone can become the next president or CEO or movie star. But the truth is you can become only a highly developed version of who you already are -- you can only grow into your own potential. You've been wired from early in life, perhaps even from birth, to love certain things, to see the world a certain way, to blossom in particular environments, and to respond naturally and easily to specific opportunities.” I was wired from early in life to love art in the form of film.

Ricardo Ramos Copyright 2013
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vicissitude at The Plaza Classic



            This past weekend went by in an instant as I hung out with family and friends back home in El Paso, TX/Juarez, Mexico, but more importantly, presented Vicissitude at the El Paso Plaza Classic Film Festival as part of their “Local Flavor” selection.

            The screening took place at the Museum of Art in downtown El Paso. It was nice to check out some of the very impressive pieces of art they had on display. A good number of people showed up to the El Paso Energy Auditorium at the museum to watch the documentary; it was nice to see so much support from close family and friends, some cast members, Kickstarter donors, as well as strangers (some who are now friends).

            Optimum Exposure TV, a start-up video and photography company, came out to photograph the event and do a short interview for their website and YouTube channel.

Interview in English

Interview in Spanish


            Sunday I had the opportunity to meet a few students who traveled from different cities of the United States to attend the festival. I was approached by my friend Oscar Garza, who is a writer for TheProspector and a Plaza Classic Film Club Facilitator, to talk to them about the process of making the documentary, some of the challenges, and many other things. He then invited me to watch The Third Man (1949) on beautiful 35mm at the Kendle Kidd Performance Hall. It would’ve been a sin to leave El Paso without catching a classic flick at the festival.

            It was a great weekend and the lack of sleep was totally worth it. Being home this past weekend for both business and pleasure made me realize I am blessed to have many individuals around me who support and love me, but push me to be the best I can be. Oprah once said, “Surround yourself with only people that are going to lift you higher.” I try to stand by those words on a consistent basis.


















Ricardo Ramos Copyright 2013


Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Evening With "Lone Ranger" Crew Members




            Hello friends, I hope everyone’s doing well. I am actually feeling somewhat melancholic as I type this blogpost because I’m sitting at my last class at Full Sail University. Thanks to this master’s program, I started this blog and have been blessed to meet new people through here. I want to thank my 300 unique visitors and the over 4,000 people who have viewed my blog this past year. But anyway, as a 1st AD I worked with once said, “There’s no crying in film.”

            My topic for today is about a Q&A panel I attended a week ago at Full Sail. The event was hosted by “Women in Film & Television Florida” and featured three crewmembers from Disney’s The Lone Ranger. The panel consisted of Andrew Campbell (production assistant), Ann-Maree Hurley (make-up artist), and Todd Warren (stunt double for Johnny Depp).

            All three of them spoke to students and guests about how they got started in the industry, what other films they have worked on, and the overall experience working on the Jerry Bruckheimer film.

            They all agreed that one of the most challenging aspects of working on this film was shooting in the middle of the desert in Arizona under infernal conditions, as well as experiencing some sandstorms occasionally. The shoot took nine months to complete and took place in five different states. For Todd, he said the most challenging thing he had to do was a “yo-yo” stunt while riding a horse.

            The panel lasted a couple of hours, and of course, someone in the audience had to ask them towards the end what their thoughts on the box-office results are. For those of you who don’t know, the film hasn’t been doing too well considering that the budget was $215 million. However, it is still being released in other countries and I mean, most of a summer "blockbuster's" profit is made overseas. Ann-Maree has seen it five times and loves it more each time she sees it. They are all proud of the end product and encouraged the crowd to show some love and go see it. Based on everything I learned at this panel, I am definitely taking some time to go see it and I’m looking forward to it. If you have seen it, what are your thoughts on the film?



Saturday, July 27, 2013

El Paso Plaza Classic Film Festival




            Hello everyone, I hope you had a great week. For those of you who didn’t know, I am thrilled to announce that Vicissitude will be part of the “Local Flavor” line-up at the El Paso Plaza Classic Film Festival on August 3rd.

            Vicissitude is a documentary that portrays a personal side of several victims of the drug-related violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. People saw it on the news or read about it in the paper for a long time, but they never got to see what these people went through on a deeper level. Whether someone was carjacked, had to shut down a business, or experienced a death in the family, the documentary also gives focus to the history and facts behind the drug war that sparked in 2008. However, it ends on a positive note by covering the actions that are taking place by groups of people and organizations to uplift the city and its people. If you’re interested in reading more about the production process of the documentary, click here to check out a blogpost I wrote a while back.





            The Plaza Classic was created in 2008 and will run from August 1st to the 11th in downtown El Paso, Texas. "One of the goals of Local Flavor, and of the festival as a whole, is to bring people downtown," says Carlos Corral, the festival's local film coordinator, on an article from Newspaper Tree.

             The festival includes a wide line-up of classic films such as West Side Story, Goodfellas, The Sound of Music, among others. It also features panels with specials guests, including Academy Award winning actress Rita Moreno, art exhibits, concerts, and screenings of feature length films and shorts made by local filmmakers.



            Vicissitude will be screened along with the short films Art by Gabriel Lira, Mas De Uno by Jonathan Herrera, and Noventa by Bryan Thompson at the El Paso Museum of Art on August 3rd at 1:00 p.m. There will be a Q&A session after the film and I’ll have copies of the documentary on DVD for anyone who’s interested in taking one home. I’m looking forward to seeing some of cast members and Kickstarter donors, as well as family, friends, and film enthusiasts. See you there!


Ricardo Ramos Copyright 2013


Inspiration From Precious Pearls



            Hello Project Runway fans, I hope you enjoyed Thursday’s episode. I’ll be discussing different elements from the second episode, so don’t forget there will be spoilers in case it’s on your DVR and have yet to check it out.

            For the second challenge, contestants had to find inspiration from precious pearls and design eveningwear. Before the challenge, a line of models walked down the runway wearing jewelry totaling over 30 million dollars! Each designer chose a model based on the diamonds they were wearing and had one day to work on their million dollar looking attire.

            I think it was refreshing to have this challenge because it was nice to see formal designs made out of more traditional materials, but on the other hand, it may sound like I’m contradicting myself, but it wasn’t too exciting. Yes, it was indeed a difficult challenge for some, but it wasn’t your “out-of-this-world” challenge such as constructing out of parachute material. (I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode). Alexander recognized it wasn’t enough time to work on it, Timothy of course thought it was too superficial, and Dom thought it wasn’t her forte.

            Sometimes I wonder what the whole deal with Sandro is. Surprisingly, he proved me wrong and I do think he’s the real deal when it comes to designing; however, I have a hard time deciding if his temper tantrums are legit. Yes, it is entertaining and sometimes hilarious, but it gets to a point where it does not flow organically. The scene while they were sewing was really funny, but it will not compare to when he grabbed the crewmember and demanded he help him set up the steamer. “Thank you for good service,” Sandro said after the crewmember politely walked away and refused to help him. That was definitely my “LOL” moment of the night.

            The runway was good but there wasn’t an outfit that blew my mind. The freak out scene with Helen was interesting. It’s not my intention to sound mean, but it’s good this happened to her for being so cocky. I was also disappointed that Kahindo got eliminated. Timothy or Helen deserved to get kicked out. Timothy really screwed up again, he doesn’t deliver with conviction, and he just lacks experience. Helen claims that eveningwear is her forte, but it turns out she doesn’t know how to construct cups; and of course, her design was unfinished.

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            At the end of the day, it was smart to get rid of Kahindo. Helen and Timothy have more to offer in terms of drama. Kahindo was predictable and somewhat conservative. If you could pick, who would you have gotten rid of? It doesn’t necessarily have to be any of these three contestants. And also, what are your thoughts on Kate winning the challenge?

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

I've Always Been Here, But I'm No Longer Invisible

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             It feels like it was just yesterday that I was rooting for Patricia Michaels a.k.a. Waterlily to win season eleven of Project Runway. I was unaware that there are two seasons per year, but it was cool to tune into Lifetime and get “introduced” to a new group of designers with whom I’ll be attempting to spend my Thursday nights with.

            I feel that Bunim/Murray did a great job casting this season because most of the contestants have really interesting backgrounds. To throw out some of the examples that stood out the most to me, there’s a veteran, a guy with a hearing disability (who actually requires an interpreter), a costume designer for Broadway shows, a guy who makes his clothing out of recycled materials, lots of foreigners, and Kate from season eleven. Also, it seems like there will be lots of drama between some of the designers, which is great, because that makes for great reality television. There are two rivals from Milwaukee, Helen from Jersey seems to not like Kate at all, and Sandro seems to have an anger issue. Based on the trailers, I can tell it will be crazy on that aspect.

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            Some of the changes that were made are good for spicing up the show. The designers will now have to manage their challenge budgets for the entire season and will be using a Gobank account. About time for an upgrade from cash to a credit card!
It’s a clever idea that Tim Gunn now gets to sit with the panel during the runway show, but more importantly that he can exercise a save; however, he can only use this privilege once. (The same tactic is used on Idol). In the words of Tim, “I’ve always been here, but I’m no longer invisible.”
Also, an “anonymous” runway show adds excitement, but even cooler for the contestants, the winner of this season will take home the biggest prize in Project Runway history. A package worth over half a million dollars consisting of $150,000 dollars in cash, $50,000 dollars on technology, a fashion spread on Marie Claire magazine, the all-new 2014 Lexus IS 350, a $50,000 dollar styling contract with L’Oreal, and much more.

            If you haven’t seen the episode, I must warn you there are spoilers (not that I haven’t given out facts above. Anyway, read at your own risk).

            The parachute challenge was a cool way to kick off the season and the fan interaction vehicle through playrunway.com is a great idea to get fans more involved with the show; it’s a smart way of taking advantage of social media and technology. 
It was sad to see Angela leave because she seemed promising, her story was appealing, and in all honesty, Sandro should have been the one to go home. His outfit was outrageous and his attitude isn't the best; however, it was an intelligent move to keep him in the show, at least from a producer’s perspective.

            It looks like it will be an exciting season. I’ll have to try to keep up by watching the episodes online starting in August since I’ll be relocating to Los Angeles and more than likely won’t have cable. If you watched tonight’s episode, feel free to share who is your favorite contestant so far as a designer but also as a character. And by the way, congrats to the team behind the show for receiving five Emmy nominations this morning.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reality TV Extra



            Hello everyone! I hope the weekend was festive and that the week that lies ahead is shining bright like a diamond. I just finished watching an Adam Sandler marathon on FX and decided to give you some Reality TV Extra and write about three things relating to the genre that happened this week.

            First of all, I thought the series premiere of Hollywood Game Night was a total success. This fun and exciting show hosted by Jane Lynch (Happy birthday by the way!) features two teams consisting of celebrities and one “regular” person per team for a chance for he or she to win some moolah. The challenges are hilarious and get you playing at home. If you had a chance to watch it, I wonder if you agree with me that the “Lil’ Picassos” challenge was the best.



            The second news is odd and interesting at the same time. To get straight to the point, it was announced that Oprah Winfrey will be releasing a Lindsay Lohan reality show on her OWN network. The show will be an eight-episode docu-series following Lindsay as she goes through rehab and attempts to get back on the groove of her acting career.

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            Lastbut not least, Idol gets a little piece of The Voice, as Diana Buddingh, Talpa Media manager, gets hired as director of global entertainment production at FreemantleMedia (Idol, The X-Factor, America’s Got Talent). Buddingh, whose last gig was to head up international productions for the spinning chair singing competition, will be working with FreemantleMedia’s director of global entertainment development managing all commercial, talent, and third party relationships connected to the company’s brands.

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            If you missed Hollywood Game Night this week, don’t forget to check out the second episode this Thursday at 10:00 p.m. EST on NBC. Also, would you consider watching Lindsay’s show? Honestly, I was a bit skeptical at first, but it means something special if it’s on the OWN network. I’m curious about it; plus, as someone who grew up watching and loving Lindsay (The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Bobby), it’s about time to see something of good from her. By the way, did you catch the new trailer for The Canyons?


Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Sexually Flexible Spidey




            Hello everyone, my apologies for being gone for so long. I can’t believe I haven’t posted since June 20th. I’ve been busy wrapping up my masters (I graduate in a month), planning my big move to Los Angeles, working at StagesPlus, and I was in Chiapas, Mexico last week on vacation with my mom and sister (Yes, I’ll be uploading pictures like I did for my trip to Puerto Rico).

            Anyway, if you tend to read my blog on a consistent basis, you may remember I’ve mentioned that I love scrolling through IMDb news religiously. This morning before my final entertainment business project class started, I ran into several interesting articles; however, there were a couple that truly caught my attention. One with a huge, bold title saying, Andrew Garfield on Spider-Man: ‘Why Can’t He Be Gay?

            With the repeal of DOMA and Proposition 8 and a plethora of gay pride parades last month, I decided to give homage to such events by stating my opinion on Garfield’s thoughts on a sexually flexible Spidey.

            “What if MJ was a dude? Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking! So why can't he be gay? Why can't he be into boys?" Garfield told Entertainment Weekly about the conversation he had with Matt Tolmach, the producer of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

            After finding out that Shailene Woodley’s scenes have been cut out (she was cast to play Mary Jane on the sequel), Garfield says he has a potential actor in mind.



            “I’ve been obsessed with Michael B. Jordan since The Wire. He’s so charismatic and talented. It’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality!”



            As an aspiring producer, I would actually love to be on Tolmach’s shoes. If this were to be taken seriously, I would heavily consider such idea. This is something that, to the best of my knowledge, has never been explored in a superhero franchise and it would be interesting to spice up the plot a bit. I am aware it could be a risky decision, but with a more accepting society of the LGBT community and more open-minded moviegoers, it could be a revolutionary, wise decision. Plus, it’d be good for LGBT kids to have a superhero role model to look up to. What are your thoughts from a producer’s standpoint and/or a Spidey fan? Comment below.

By the way, did you get a glimpse of this new image from "Spidey 2?"


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fishbowl Has Partnered With Fullscreen


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             America’s Funniest Home Videos has been entertaining people since before I came to this earth. Personally, each time I happen to watch an episode, I either laugh to the point where I almost pee my pants or I feel a weird sensation of pain whenever something messed up happens to someone.
          
            Anyway, this blogpost is dedicated to the show, Fishbowl Worldwide Media, and the perks that social media and technology have had on television.

            It was recently announced that Fishbowl (I had the pleasure of working for this company back in September on Upload With Shaquille O’Neal) has partnered with Fullscreen, a company that operates YouTube channels that reach over 35 million viewers a month in the country. Fullscreen will work on rebuilding and rebranding the current AFV channel and targeting a younger audience (that’s a good idea, cough cough). The channel currently has fewer than 30,000 subscribers and it was launched a year ago.

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            "We are very excited to be collaborating with Fullscreen to market, engage and reach new audiences on YouTube," says Bruce Gersh, CEO of Fishbowl.

            This is a good move by Fishbowl, considering that besides producing content for digital platforms, there is a big demand for “funny” videos on YouTube. It will be a great way to interact with younger audiences and have a bigger following. I’m wondering if the show will keep airing on TV considering the success of the online platform. What are some funny videos you enjoy watching on YouTube?

With Shaq on the last day of shooting

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Q&A With Supervising Producer Troy DeVolld

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             Troy DeVolld is an Emmy nominated Supervising Producer of reality television. Some of his credits include The Osbournes, The Surreal Life, Dancing With the Stars, Basketball Wives, among many more. Also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Nonfiction Writers Caucus of the WGA West, DeVolld has shared his experience by lecturing on the genre around different schools and seminars, and is also the author of Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market.

            If you visit my blog consistently, you probably know by now that I enjoy researching trends on this rapidly growing genre and writing about some of the shows I watch. As someone who aspires to someday be a part of great shows, it was my pleasure to read Troy’s book and learn from his experience. The book does an outstanding job giving detailed information on the three stages of production, the genres among the genre, history, and advices for getting out there.

            I reached out to Troy and I feel honored to include a Q&A on this blogpost. I hope you find it interesting and don’t forget to get your copy of the book by clicking here. It is eye opening in a humorous way, and if you’re considering working in this field, it gets you even more excited to do so. Beth Bohn, a talent and literary agent from Bohn Management says it is “A ‘must read’ tool for anyone considering a career in this genre.”

What motivated you to write the book and what was your biggest learning experience while working on it?  

I WAS TIRED OF GOING INTO BOOKSTORES AND FINDING 50 BOOKS ON SCREENWRITING AND NOTHING ON REALITY TV PRODUCTION.  IT'S A HUGE MARKET, AND MUCH EASIER TO CRACK THAN SCREENWRITING, SO I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A SORT OF HANDBOOK FOR THE GIG.
THANKFULLY, MY PAL RIC VIERS (AUTHOR OF “THE SOUND EFFECTS BIBLE”) AGREED, AND INTRODUCED ME TO MY PUBLISHER, MICHAEL WIESE, AND HIS RIGHT HAND GUY, THE AWESOME KEN LEE.

Which shows do you prefer watching and working on? Competition or docu-series?  

IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE SHOW.  I'VE HAD LOADS OF FUN ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT DIVIDE, AS WELL AS SOME PRETTY STRESSFUL FLOP EFFORTS. DOCU-SERIES, WHEN IT'S GOOD, IS THE GREATEST.

What is the biggest mistake you see being made by people who are barely starting in the industry? How can this be avoided?  

EVERYBODY WANTS TO COME IN AS A CREATOR.  WHEN YOU'RE JUST STARTING OUT AND HAVE NO CREDITS, IT'S REALLY TOUGH TO GET PEOPLE ENROLLED IN YOUR IDEAS.  NOT THAT IT DOESN'T HAPPEN, BUT IF YOU PUT IN THE TIME, IT'S MUCH EASIER TO GET MEETINGS FIVE OR TEN YEARS INTO A CAREER WHEN YOUR RESUME IS PACKED OUT.  LIKE ANYTHING ELSE, "START AT THE BOTTOM" IS SOUND ADVICE.  AGAIN, ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE.  I'LL NEVER SAY YOU CAN'T DO SOMETHING.

What is your biggest accomplishment or highlight of your career?

I'M VERY PROUD OF THE TV WRITERS SUMMIT LECTURES I'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS.  VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT OR TEACHING REALITY TV PRODUCTION, AND WE'VE BEEN VERY WELL RECEIVED SO FAR.

You've been working on reality television for a little over a decade. How has the genre changed these past ten years with the addition of social media and advances in technology?

IT'S FUNNY IN THAT THERE'S SO MUCH EXTRA STUFF TO DELIVER.  “BASKETBALL WIVES” HAS AT LEAST TWO EXTRA SCENES OR ADDITIONAL CONTENT POSTED AT VH1.COM FOR EVERY SINGLE EPISODE.  OUR SHOW WAS ACTUALLY THE FIRST REALITY TO BE RANKED THE MOST SOCIALLY ACTIVE IN THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  ONLY “FAMILY GUY” WAS AHEAD OF US OVERALL IN TERMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA VOLUME (DERIVED FROM AGGREGATE NUMBER OF TWEETS, POSTS, AND OTHER MEASURING METHODS).  YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT SHOWS AS A LARGER EXPERIENCE.  VH1'S MARKETING PEOPLE ARE TREMENDOUSLY GOOD AT PROMOTING THEIR PRODUCT.

Where do you see reality television going in the next decade?  

WE'RE ALREADY STEERING AWAY FROM THE MEAN-SPIRITED SHOWS WE SAW SO MUCH OF IN THE PAST DECADE, I THINK.  I HOPE WE HAVE MORE SHOWS THAT REALLY PROMOTE CURIOSITY ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AND CULTURES. “ ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS” IS A TRAILBLAZER... GIVE ME MORE STUFF LIKE THAT, PLEASE.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Are you curious about exploring other areas of the industry such as documentaries or film?

I'VE ALWAYS LOVED MOVIES, BUT I THINK IT'LL BE A LATER-IN-LIFE THING FOR ME AND THAT I'LL DO IT AS A PRODUCER RATHER THAN A WRITER, AS I'D ALWAYS THOUGHT I WOULD WHEN I WAS YOUNGER.  I'M IN THE PREPRODUCTION PROCESS WITH MY FIRST DOCUMENTARY FILM, “REMEMBER, WE'RE NOT HERE,” EVEN AS I WRITE THIS.

I've been writing a lot about singing competitions recently and how they're losing their essence and audience. What do you think is a key ingredient(s) to keep these shows fresh and give them more originality without getting too distant from their roots?

STOP ENCOURAGING BLAND POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCES WITH NO RESPECT FOR LYRICS OR EMOTION.  GO FIND SOME SOUL.  GET ALLEE WILLIS OUT THERE LOOKING FOR THE BEST UNDISCOVERED SOUL SINGERS, I SAY!