film · podcast · Producer

Episode 9 – Ray McCann

To open February and Black History Month I thought I would interview my good friend and President of SketchHouse Entertainment, Ray McCann. He was chillin with his home boy Donte Spears – and we talk to them about being young producers in Hollywood!

 

 

BIO

Raymond McCann President of Sketch House Entertainment has extensive experience in the entertainment industry. Coming from the TV Sitcom world he has worked under major producers like Bentley Kyle Evans (Martin, Jamie Foxx) and Jeff Franklin (Full House, Fuller House). This experience of working under seasoned showrunners has given him extensive business knowledge on how to prepare, package and promote a show.

 

film · interview · writer

Interview 3 – Stephen Kogon

Back in 2016 I worked on a film called Dance Baby Dance with Stephen Kogon, Beverley Mitchell (7th Heaven), Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recs) and Clare Grant (Robot Chicken, wife of Seth Green). I attended the red carpet premiere: Red Carpet Premiere and took a minute to follow up with Stephen on the process of creating his first feature film.

1. Briefly tell us what the journey with Dance Baby Dance was like.

A: Briefly?! What are you trying to say — I’m a windbag 🙂 Fine, fine, here’s briefly. It started with walks on the beach where I would listen to music to clear my head and get story ideas. At the time this story came about I was listening to a lot of old school soul (Stevie Wonder, Sam &
Dave) and for some reason I just saw myself tap dancing to them (even though I’d never tap danced before in my life!). And it made me smile and made me happy. So I started coming up with the idea of a tap dancer who was an underdog, because I’m a huge fan of underdog films (Rocky, Rudy, etc.). Once I outlined the idea, I wrote the script, did a crowdfunding (reaching our goal), raised the rest of the money — and started filming in March 2016. Circumstances forced us to do 2 three day pickups in May and August — then Post took a while due largely to the intricacies of tap dancing. But then we were done! And we had the premiere on 1/19/2018, where Michael from “Mimosas with Michael” showed up without any Mimosas!… Was that brief enough?

2. What was the most important lesson you learned while make this film?

A: It was something I actually already believed in, but in low budget filmmaking can’t always be accomplished. And that’s allowing yourself plenty of prep time — and budgeting for it. I believe 90% of a director’s job should be done well before ever stepping on set. That means in Pre-Production you work with your crew to go over budgets, discuss contingencies, and work out how you want everything done so that everyone is on the same page… And same goes with working with your actors. You should rehearse enough with them before filming so that everyone feels good about their characters and their scenes (this is especially important if you’re also acting in the film because you can’t act and direct at the same time — so being comfortable about what your cast will be doing during their scenes is vital).

So basically the lesson was re-learned: Prepare as much as possible before filming — and budget for it so you can pay everyone who’s working during Pre-Production. I won’t go in to deep detail about why we didn’t do this
— but it largely had to do with the challenges of having a low budget.

3. So you are writing a book to accompany the release of the film. What is your goal with the book?

A: I was a first-time director, producer and actor — and I learned some very painful lessons. But I also thought there were plenty of things I did well. So I wanted to write the kind of book that I wished I read before making the film. I’m hoping that for people who read the book, they’ll learn a lot about what it’s like to make a film (especially if it’s their first time) from A to Z. That means writing the script, writing a business plan, pre-building your audience, fundraising (starting with a crowdfunding), casting, location scouting, filming, and Post… And I include the shooting script with notes about nearly every scene (from what it was like to work with the actors, to what challenges were overcome, to fun behind the scenes info). And I did a Q&A with some of our crew members (like you) so that people can learn the roles of certain jobs on a set — and the best way a director should work with them to get the best results.

4. What advice would you give to any one who is taking their first journey into directing/producing a film?

A: To read my book! 🙂 But until they do that, the short answer is, like I said, give yourself plenty of prep time and budget for it — and then hire well. You want to find people who are good communicators, work hard (and take pride in their work) and have good attitudes. Those people do exist.
Find them.

5. What is next for Stephen Kogon and for Dance Baby Dance?

A: I’ll be putting just as much effort into promoting the film as I did in making it. Our distributor got us a week-long release in L.A. and will be putting it on all the VOD platforms (starting with Amazon — which is available now: http://amzn.to/2mYluPc). They’ll also rep us at Cannes for foreign sales… We’ll also separately aim to do select theaters around the country in which we’ll try to organize live dancing events after the movie. That way we can get local dance communities excited to see the film and feel a part of it all.

As for other projects, my background has mainly been as a writer and I write a lot. So I’ll want to get several of my other scripts off the ground (and help produce some of them), and I’ll soon start the process of trying to get another film of mine made where I’ll act, direct and produce it again. It’s a quirky comedy called, “Burton’s Invention” and is about an inventor and his eccentric family and the quest for that one great invention.

Trailer for Dance Baby Dance

BIO

Originally from Maryland, Stephen Kogon moved to Los Angeles and became a working screenwriter. “Dance Baby Dance” was his first feature film as an actor, director and producer. He also was a writer on the feature film “Boone the Bounty Hunter”, wrote, directed and acted in the short comedy film, “American Beauty Pie”, wrote the comedic young adult novel “Max Mooth – Cyber Sleuth and the Case of the Zombie Virus”, and once wrote a weekly satirical comic strip about the entertainment industry called “Studio Reader Stan”.

He has no pets but occasionally finds a dust bunny underneath his bed and befriends them.

film · Film Festival · horror · interview · life, love, friendship · writer

Episode 8 – Gregory Blair

Award-winning actor/writer/director/producer Gregory Blair was born and bred in Southern California. He studied theater at various locations throughout Los Angeles–including UCLA–and also studied abroad at Cambridge University. He is a Geoffrey Award winning actor, EOTM Award winning director, Stonewall Award winning novelist and multi-produced and award-winning screenwriter and playwright.

As an actor, Gregory has graced the stage (Sylvia, Working, Six Degrees of Separation, etc.) the big screen (Ooga Booga, Fang, Look Back, etc.), and the small screen (Escape The Night, Love That Girl!, Amazing Sports Stories, etc.); as a writer he has been represented on stage (Cold Lang Syne, The Last Banana and Nicholas Nickleby), in prose (The Ritual, Little Shivers and Spewing Pulp) and in screenplays, including the original script resulting in Heretiks (due out this year), the award-wining Garden Party Massacre and Deadly Revisions, now available via SGL Entertainment.

film · Film Festival · life, love, friendship · podcast

Episode 7 – Eric Vollweiler

We start off the new year by having mimosas with film festival promoter Eric Vollweiler. Listen as we talk about movies, love, Tinder, eHarmony, JWed and film festivals.

Bio:

Eric is based in Upstate NY and has been producing and marketing film festivals, conferences, movie premieres, parties at major film festivals and concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Utah, Connecticut, Boston, New Jersey, Manhattan, Albany and Buffalo since 2005. Some of Erics Credits include the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival, New York State International Film Festival, Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival, Silicon Beach Film Festival, Seal Beach Film Festival, Marina del Rey Film Festival, San Pedro International Film Festival.

Film Festivals

  1. Silicon Beach Film Festival- Fort Lauderdale Florida- Festival taking place February 9-12,  Submissions still open visit our website at www.siliconbeachff.com .
  2. Garden State Film Festival taking place March 22-25 in Asbury Park NJ, Submissions are closed.  Website is www.gsff.org
  3. Silicon Beach Film Festival- Los Angeles taking place April 20-27 Submissions still open visit our website at www.siliconbeachff.com .
  4. Silver State Film Festival- Nevada taking place in the Spring. Submissions are open and the website is www.silverstatefilmfestival.com .
  5. Long Island International Film Expo taking place in Belmore, NY July 13-19 Submissions are now open www.longislandfilmexpo.com .
  6. Princeton Independent Film Festival taking place in Princeton NJ in November of 2018 Submissions open January and the website is www.prindie.org .
  1. Artemis Woman in Action Film Festival taking place March 22-25 in Los Angeles. Submissions are now closed and website is www.artemisfilmfestival.com .
film · life, love, friendship · podcast

Episode 6 – Tyler Gallant

Our last interview of the year is our friend, actor and retired hockey player, Tyler Gallant.

Bio:

Tyler Gallant is an American born actor and former pro Ice hockey player. Tyler was born in Boston, MA to Robert and Janice Gallant and brother to Ryan Gallant. Tyler’s first love was acting but had always been involved in various sports as well. At the age of 12, Gallant really started to excel at ice hockey and played for various select teams. Gallant played college hockey for St Norbert College and Arizona State University, where he also studied acting and Journalism. After college Gallant signed pro and played 4 years professionally.

Gallant’s love for acting and film started at the age of 7, while making home movies with his friends and cousins. College presented a golden opportunity to further his education of his lifelong passion for acting and film more aggressively; he immersed himself in acting, theatre, film study and film critique classes.

To date, Tyler Gallant has acted and/or been in a wide variety of media: film, TV, radio, web series, commercials, promotions, and modeling. Gallant’s passion for film and past experiences in sports have molded him into a versatile, hard working, loyal, competitive and honest team player. Those qualities, along with tremendous focus and work ethic, are brought to every project Gallant is involved with.

Instagram

Twitter

Website

IMDb

Theatrical Reel

Stunt/fight reel

 

film · life, love, friendship · Music · podcast

Episode 3 – Richard Trejo

This episode introduces my friend Richard Trejo. He is my good friend, sound engineer and co-host of my other podcast When Straight Meets Gay.

BIO:

” Since I was a young kid, I’ve had this fascination with Werewolves. This fascination drove me to the film ‘An American Werewolf in London’ At the wide-eyed age of 8, I stared at that hairy, magnificent, werewolf in wonderment. From that moment I was hooked to movies. While embarking upon my journey to watch as many movies as I could I realized a couple of things along the way: Sound is major, but only as much as music. 

Sound has been a big part of my life, since I was a kid. Whether it be watching Spielberg films or James Cameron, it has been a major inspiration. Another thing these heavy hitters taught me were that music can make or break a scene. I realized that a Low rumbling drone can create tension or suspense, or a properly placed violin sting can heighten the intensity. Music is just as important. Robert Rodriguez and John Carpenter not only enforced those philosophies, but put turned on the light bulb that I could do it myself. That’s when I started creating long moody songs, that I tried to fashion into traditional music. After I put some of my music behind Dean Werner’s ‘The Night’ I realized where my music belonged.

Up until about a year ago all this was a side project, or a hobby. I worked a desk job, at an insurance company the same time, taking the same trip, drinking out of the same cup, just pretty much doing the same thing every day… for 10 years…

For a year now I’ve been chasing my dream to make a living as a film maker. It’s hard, but the most rewarding times of my life. 

I have had my hand in a little bit of everything — Location Sound, Composing, Post Sound, Camera — but my end goal is to write, direct, and score my own flicks. Those are the three things I enjoy the most and look forward to sharing with the world. “

 

film · horror · life, love, friendship · podcast

Episode 2 – Dee Wallace

Famed actress Dee Wallace of E.T the Extra-Terrestrial as well as Cujo, The Howling, Critters, and the Hills Have Eyes stopped by to have mimosas with us. We talk about the importance of women in horror as well as great stories of working with such directors as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Joe Dante.

Come enjoy Misosas with Michael and Dee