Premiering on April 24th on MyTV New England, mAZe Productions in collaboration with Willow Studios debuts “The Perils of Independent Filmmaking”.
The show will chronicle the lifecycle of New England-based independent films and broadcast TV shows by illustrating challenges that face producers and how they are eventually overcome. The show will include interviews and film footage from local up-and-coming and established filmmakers and TV producers.
Andreas D. Ziebart, who founded mAZe Productions, said in regard to the special: “I recently worked on a feature film where I was unhappy with the direction it went after spending time and resources on it. I’m excited to be in control of this TV special and knowing that our efforts will be presented in Prime Time. This will be the first of many projects from mAZe Productions with other production company collaborators like Willow Studios.”
As a recently formed independent film and television production company, mAZe Productions is based in New England. Willow Studios produces branded entertainment-based feature films, shows/specials for broadcast TV and theatrical premieres, and is helmed by Christopher Murphy, who is also Film and TV Development Executive for MyTV New England. The one hour prime time special will start at 10PM this Sunday.
After the success of indie film Joy and the Apocalypse, MyTV New England is teaming up with Double Midnight Productions, an offshoot of Double Midnight Comics of Manchester, NH, to announce a new feature film – The Unseen.
To be produced as part of MyTV New England’s new Independent Film Series, The Unseen will be the first comic book movie to ever be produced by owners of a comic book store. The film will also be the newest project to use the exclusive branded entertainment model developed by Christopher Murphy at MyTV New England Studios.
According to Murphy, The Unseen is slated for a limited theatrical release in Fall 2011 and an exclusive broadcast premiere on Christmas Eve with a 2-hour prime time special from 8-10 p.m. on the MyTV New England channel. The broadcast is scheduled to include the full movie, Filmmaker Q & A, cast & crew interviews and behind the scenes footage.
Co-founder of the New Hampshire Film Festival, Brett Parker, said in a press release for the new project, “We’re excited to be collaborating with Christopher on The Unseen. We’re looking to make this a fun experience, it brings together our love of film and comic books and we’re planning on making this an interactive experience for our customers!”
2006 graduate of University of New Hampshire and NH resident Michael Grosse has broken out of the Hollywood East scene as the producer of a new TV series called “Bladework.” According to NewEnglandFilm.com, the show will feature both coverage of Olympic-style fencing events and a reality TV segment in which an athlete is challenged to complete one fencing lesson per episode and compete in a tournament at the end of the season. The first episode will premiere on Friday, Nov. 26, at 8 a.m.
The new show, a collaboration with NBC Universal Sports Boston and MyTV New England, is funded by the same “branded-entertainment” model that is bringing you “Boston Ruit” this March; the innovative strategy was developed by Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive for MyTV New England. It allows several local businesses to take part in this production and be featured in episodes of the show, including the Seacoast Fencing Club in Rochester, N.H., where parts of “Bladework” will be filmed.
In an interview with Warren J. Avery, Grosse — who is an Epee coach at UNH, where he himself fenced in 2005 and ’06 — discussed the sport of fencing, which is frequently overlooked by the public eye. “The U.S. team won 6 fencing medals in Beijing—tied with Italy for the most in the world. Now is the perfect time to bring the sport to the mainstream. Robin Hood, James Bond, and Captain Jack Sparrow have been entertaining audiences with swordplay for years, but ‘Bladework’ will show the real thing in all its grace and drama. Who doesn’t love watching a good sword fight?”
“Bladework” combines two of Grosse’s passions: film and fencing. A Mechanical Engineering turned English/Journalism major at UNH, Grosse decided to pursue a minor in Cinema Studies, “mostly out of spite for having spent so much time studying linearity and mechanics. I saw cinema studies as a way to re-engage the creative side of my brain,” says Grosse. The plan, according to Grosse, was to possibly get into documentary filmmaking someday. “My film studies courses at UNH set the foundation on which I would eventually build my film and TV career.”
After working briefly as a reporter in Gloucester, Mass., Grosse began working in independent TV production, and, in 2010, he approached Chris Murphy at MyTV New England with an idea to produce a show of his own. ”I cannot imagine any training that would have better prepared me for producing a weekly TV series. The same process that I had learned in journalism school — and then refined as a city reporter for the Gloucester Daily Times — applies to every shoot for ‘Bladework,’” says Grosse. “How to be concise but engaging, and how to process new information quickly, prioritize details by their importance and the reliability of their source, and translate this into a narrative…I had already conquered that learning curve with a pen, so I was able to hit the ground running with a camera fairly easily.”
Some advice from an up-and-coming Hollywood East producer who, despite his success, still describes himself as a “student of the craft:”
“Don’t wait for work. If you have the drive, create. If you don’t have the drive, consider another field. If you’re broke, pens are cheap. Library cards are free and there are hundreds of years worth of books on how to write well at your disposal. A resourceful writer is hard to find and indispensable on any project. No matter what medium you use, share stories that you are passionate about. Success has a habit of following those who pursue their passions.”
A new and exciting commercial broadcast television show “Boston Ruit” — an official satellite tournament of the World Series of Beer Pong — is expected to air starting in March 2011. The series, a collaboration between Chris Liquori and Keith Winer from Bostonian Productions and Christopher Murphy from MyTV New England Studios (home of NBC Universal Sports Boston), has nailed down multiple sponsorships for its first season and is now in pre-production.
“I’ve enjoyed getting immersed in the culture that has made this new sport competitive,” says Keith Winer, executive producer of the show. “The game has so much potential, beyond what most people first think about. Although it’s already widely popular, few people realize that there is a growing number who play competitively, even professionally.”
“‘Boston Ruit’” has been very easy to get out of development because the concept was really simple,” explains Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive for MyTV New England. “When a TV show or movie requires a large budget it’s much more difficult to secure funding in the beginning.”
The branded entertainment model personally developed by Murphy has allowed MyTV New England to acquire local businesses to participate in the content of TV shows or indie feature films (location and product placements), TV advertising campaigns, special events and other custom branding opportunities. It was through this method that The Greatest Bar, one of Boston’s hottest sports bars in the heart of downtown, signed on as the official screening location for “Boston Ruit.” Bostonian Productions and NBC Universal Sports Boston will collaborate on the series throughout 2011.
“Boston Ruit” has taken an extra step in their advertising campaign by turning to social networking. Throughout the pre-production process, MyTV New England has asked everyone interested in participating in becoming a fan to join the official Facebook page for the TV show, and to register for the qualifying events via the official website. Tryouts for the official teams will take place coming up soon on Feb. 17th and 18th at The Greatest Bar. All players featured on “Boston Ruit” have a chance to compete for the championship, while members of the audience can follow players throughout the season. “When you factor in the social networking aspect we’re spreading the ‘buzz’ like wildfire and ultimately sponsors are getting maximum exposure,” says Murphy.
What’s the best part of “Boston Ruit,” you ask? “The audience is really going to enjoy the relationships with characters,” says executive producer, Winer. “They are both seasoned professionals who make a living winning tournaments and college kids who play in their dorms all the time and who come out to compete with the best of the best.”
Bostonian Productions, owned and operated by Chris Liquori and Keith Winer, recently formed with a mission to create commercial broadcast TV shows and independent feature films in New England. Read about Bostonian Productions and check out MyTV New England for more information.
2010 has been a big year in Hollywood East, with many made in Massachusetts films coming to the big-screen with much fanfare and success, as other future TV and film projects went to work in the Bay State, ensuring more New England flavor will be infused into Tinseltown’s productions for years to come. We took a look back at some of the major stories that you wanted to know about.
The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, debuted at the Coolidge Corner Theater in February as part of the Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director John Wells sat down and talked to us about his film, which also co-starred Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Massachusetts native Chris Cooper, as a group of executives who were laid off in a corporate down-sizing. The movie had filmed in Boston and surrounding suburbs in late spring and early summer 2009.
Also in February, we got an update on the Plymouth Rock Studios, where we found out that the studio had been downsizing and moving ahead with financing efforts in an attempt to get the construction of the project successfully off the ground. Not much else has been heard from the studio since then.
In March, the Massachusetts state legislature made several attempts to cap the successful film tax credit program, putting various versions of the bill with amendments to vote, before finally laying it to rest in favor of the notion that capping the bill would limit film-making in the state, negatively affecting potential job creation that occurs as a result of these films.
In May, filming began of the romantic comedy, What’s You’re Number, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Numerous casting calls were held in advance of production, calling for both union and non-union extras that were needed to fill the various wedding and crowd scenes in the film. Filming continued throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, including the North End, Back Bay, Financial District, and waterfront from mid-May to mid-July.
This summer and fall, we saw the first of a number of made in Massachusetts flicks get released, including Furry Vengeance, Knight and Day, Grown Ups, and The Social Network. Many of these films were shot in the area during the spring and summer of 2009.
In July, we spoke to Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive at MyTV New England, who formally announced a new distribution program that would help bring locally made TV shows and films to broadcast TV through branded entertainment and budgeting made in-line with already acquired funds. This new type of programming has already helped bring viewers around New England Debra Crosby’s Talent Quest TV show, and a new independent film series that will be debuting in February.
In September, Ben Affleck’s second directorial endeavor, The Town, debuted in theaters, co-starring Blake Lively and Chris Cooper. Affleck, who also starred in the movie, filmed the movie throughout Boston and Charlestown in the summer of 2009. The film is based on the book of the same name, and is set in Charlestown.
In October, the state of Connecticut announced formal plans to break ground on a $50 million studio sound stage that will also include a hotel, restaurant and shopping complex, and will create as many as 500 union construction jobs over the next year.
Earlier this month, The Fighter debuted at theaters, instantly garnering award-season buzz, starting out with 6 Golden Globe nominations. Starring Dorchester’s Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, the real-life story of fighter Mickey Ward was filmed in the greater Boston area in the late spring and early summer of 2009, and will continue to be a favorite as Oscar season draws nearer.
This month also marked the end of Nick Paleologos’s tenure as executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, as a recent bill passed in August that reorganized the duties of the office, and a new agency called the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership was created which will be responsible for the development and promotion of film and sports events in Massachusetts from 2011 onward.
Overall, 2010 marked a great year for Massachusetts, and Hollywood East in general, and we look forward to bringing you all the excitement to come in 2011!
MyTV New England is preparing to launch its new Independent Film Series, which will bring locally shot movies to homes around New England. Starting on February 12, 2011, during the Saturday matinee time slot, instead of seeing an airing of a Hollywood movie, 3 million television sets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will be able to tune in to the broadcast television premiere of local filmmaker Daniel R. Black’s latest film, Joy and the Apocalypse.
Film and TV Development Executive Christopher Murphy’s launch of the new TV and film distribution program utilizes such business savvy tools as “branded entertainment” to help films go from fruitless, money-pit projects that never see the light of day, to successful, long-running series that always stay well in the black while reaching a multi-state-wide audience that includes the number 7 market (Boston) out of 207 TV markets in the U.S.
Murphy’s biggest problem, however, is finding filmmakers who are business minded in addition to having an immense amount of creative talent. If you are a budding filmmaker who has a passion for making movie and a penchant for keeping track of spending while being able to talk about and market your product in an enthusiastic manner, this is your opportunity. Get your film distributed throughout New England by getting involved with MyTV New England. Whether you are getting ready to shoot something or have a film already in the can, get in touch with Christopher Murphy at MyTV New England, and watch what happens!
As long as there have been film schools, there have been eager young filmmakers, wannabe directors, producers, actors, young talent of all types, producing work for class projects or school film festivals. Most always working on shoestring budgets, they create films or TV concepts that never end up being seen by more than a handful of people before it gets carefully tucked away on a shelf at someone’s parents’ house. The problem, inevitably, has never been a lack of ideas or quality work, but rather a viable way to distribute that work in a method which would enable it to be received by a wide audience, while also sustaining the people responsible for creating it.
Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive at MyTV New England, is leading a new and inventive program that seems to finally provide a solution. This new program helps guide local TV and film producers by teaching them monetizing the content before it broadcasts, creating a sort of “self distribution.” They then have the full support of MyTV New England, through which the content will air to an audience of around 2.5 million homes in the area.
In a world where the internet has made stars out of bloggers and Youtube personalities, Murphy sees an important distinction between the MyTV program and the endless possibilities of cyberspace.
“What’s the difference between broadcast TV and the internet? Broadcast TV is broadcast and received. On the internet, people have to find you. Anyone can put something on the internet but you can’t do that with broadcast TV. TVs have been around a lot longer than the internet, and most people who have TVs turn it on every day. Furthermore, this is not public access, this is broadcast television, if what you are delivering is not good, the audience is not going to want to see it.”
Some of the projects currently being worked on include a Green Show, a show about filmmakers, a scripted TV series that will take place in Manchester, NH, a music show starring a band or solo artist, an “American Idol” type show, and a short film TV show.
Throughout the process, which involves an intensive informational training program that is also being launched in area colleges and soon high schools, Murphy preaches good business sense, efficiency, and dedication. For the filmmakers, he’s also adamant they make a profit.
“There is no reason to get involved with a producer that doesn’t know how to budget, and keep that spreadsheet in the black, even if it’s a minimal amount, so that later on, he or she can say ‘and before I even shot a frame it was in the black, and when it was finished, its still in the black.’ We want those people with a great business sense and who are aggressive. Advertisers and sponsors want to connect themselves with content that is of great quality.”
The impetus for this program came from a desire to provide filmmakers with the resources and guidance needed in order to be able to turn their passion into a successful enterprise.
“I spoke with a film school student who spent $4,000 of her own money, to create a film, and it’s going to sit in a drawer,” says Murphy “We emphasize a quick turn around in the program because content should be flowing through constantly. That makes it very efficient, because there is a constant flow of ideas, and it enables us to keep things on the fast track for development. The more aggressive and the more excited they are, the better, as there is no reason now why they can’t do it. Our program provides real practical and profitable distribution, where students and other struggling film and TV makers can have a platform to present their work and get it distributed.”
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