★ NECN’s “TV Diner” co-host, Billy Costa, appears at Cambridgeside Galleria’s 20th Anniversary Cupcake Celebration on October 3.
★ Medford resident, Frank Imbergamo, was featured on ‘Emeril Live!’ for his winning meatball recipe.
★ Casey Affleck nearly goes bankrupt making movie about Joaquin Phoenix.
★ The Social Network becomes third made in Mass. flick (after The Town and Shutter Island) to top U.S. box-office. The film creates questions about Facebook co-founder from Harvard. Turns out, Harvard grad Natalie Portman helped with research on movie.
★ Michael Cunningham (below), author of The Hours, the book which the movie was based on, signs autographs at the Boston Public Library on October 6.
Remember life without Facebook? Me either. But there was a time, not too long ago actually, that The Facebook was just an idea turning in the cogs of Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliant mind. In 2004, the Harvard student turned his pet project into the largest social network in the world thanks to two other students and a little financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin. It quickly spread through the dorms of Harvard, extending its cyber fingertips to Stanford and other elite schools, until anyone in the world could join in updating statuses, upload pictures, and checking in on old friends of yesteryear.
The Social Network stars Jessie Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Education of Charlie Parker), who looks perfectly the part of Ivy league braniac Mark Zuckerberg, and Justin Timberlake smooth talks his way to the top as Sean Parker. Parker, who co-founded Napster in 1999, went on to become President of Facebook. Disney’s Brenda Song (“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) also co-stars.
So, a movie about a website? That sounds a little risky, but The Social Network takes us through the dark biography from the beginnings of TheFacebook.com to its global explosion with plenty of lies, betrayals and a love story or two along the way that could satiate anyone’s newsfeed hunger. Based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 best-seller The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, most of the movie was filmed in Cambridge. Although there were no scenes shot on Harvard’s Campus, Wheelock College, John’s Hopkins University, and Phillips Academy in Andover, MA doubled as Harvard yard.
The film looks like it will offer plenty of drama, and even though it is far from a documentary about the founding of the world’s most popular website, it should be interesting to see how a student’s part-time hobby turned into an integral part of almost every students’ lives. That, and the sepulchral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” during the trailer makes it look way to juicy to pass up. Catch it in theaters this fall.
As the summer days keep us daydreaming, Hollywood East Connection wants to keep your dream of landing your next gig. It’s been a slow couple of months for the industry minded here in Hollywood East but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait. We are certainly not saying to put the beach chairs away or even the margaritas, but in this crazy upside down, edge of your seat profession, it’s important that we continue to promote ourselves by finding new and hip ways to network. Here’s our third dose of networking opportunities in Hollywood East. In case you missed them, click here for parts one and two.
Networking can be thought of as shameless socializing with the hottest casting director in town or rubbing elbows with filmmakers at one of the many film fests. But, as you know, it can also be just fingertips away on the internet. Don’t get us wrong, going to the hottest industry mixer and charming the right person hasn’t been known to hurt anyone. However, clicking on the right website and promoting yourself online is the way of the future in this biz.
In an industry that’s all about who you know, as well as this Facebook-era, it’s all about who you are “friends” with too. Network sites seem endless and some require a fee but Facebook profiles can grant you access and offer new ways to stay in the loop. Some of our local favs are ones that are constantly filling our news feed such as New England Talent & Crew, created to provide New England cast & crew a chance to network online and exchange information, tips, and entertainment news. South Shore Casting, New England Casting, Christine Wyse Casting, one of newest casting directors to hit the coast, and of course Beantown.Name are several places where you can find opportunities.
In addition to the endless possibilities of free Facebook networking opportunities, we can’t forget about You Tube and LinkedIn, which will always be self indulging networks for Hollywood East. These are by far the hippest free tools for actors to get a head in the business. It’s not new but we just want to remind you to leverage these online tools. Finally, if you have an iPhone, check out this new app called Actor genie. This app has endless casting notices and even has helpful hints from working professionals including hot agents and sassy casting directors.
With these hot and sticky summer days, sometimes we forget how important it is to stay connected. Networking is endless so no matter how you choose to do it, don’t forget to see the list of local resources on our Career Scene page.
What’s your favorite local networking site?
The now infamous NBC late-night bru-ha-ha that happened months ago, which led to Conan O’Brien being released from hosting duties of the “Tonight Show” only to have Jay Leno reclaim his former post after his 10 o’clock comedy/variety show experiment failed is still not quite finished. On May 2nd, Conan O’Brian appeared in an in-depth interview on “60 Minutes”. The show aired on the night after he was no longer contractually banned from appearing on television in accordance with his agreement with NBC for leaving “The Tonight Show”.
Choosing his words carefully, per the stipulations of his agreement not to publicly disparage NBC, O’Brien told correspondent Steve Kroft that he did not agree with how Leno handled the situation, and purported that had he been in Leno’s position, he would have handled things differently.
Meanwhile, on May 1st, Jay Leno headlined the annual White House correspondent’s dinner, where the President himself poked fun at the North Andover native, asserting that, like Leno, his approval ratings had also dropped in the last year. Obama, who introduced Leno, likewise exclaimed his relief at the order in which they spoke, saying “We’ve all seen what happens when you take the time slot after Leno.”
Just a few nights later, Leno slipped in a slight jab at O’Brien, his former late-night follower when Conan occupied the time slot after “Tonight”. In a joke about Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of the recent attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square, Leno displayed a fake Facebook profile of Shahzad. Among the things displayed on the faux page, Shahzad was listed as a member of “Team Coco”, the name of the group of fans who rallied behind O’Brien during the original late-night show shake-up.
O’Brien’s “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour“ will keep him busy into the summer months before he turns his attention to his new late-night show on TBS, set to debut in November.
Over the past year, a lot of celebrities have stepped up their game on Facebook and Twitter. Social media titans like Ashton Kutcher and Conan O’Brien know what it takes to keep themselves relevant: Ashton has almost five million followers on Twitter and Conan is just shy of a million. Both are hysterical; their day-to-day musings are definitely entertaining to scroll through during a dull afternoon at the office, but they they’re doing some good with it too. (Conan tweet: “I’m confused by the new census form. There’s no box for ‘Sickly White.’” Ha!)
Even Providence native DJ Pauly D is trying to make a difference. He has over 500,000 fans on Facebook, which is no small feat. If you sift through the pictures of the Jersey Shore gang going out for ice cream and getting their GTL on, Pauly Delveccio is doing his part by making the ultimate sacrifice: auctioning off his tanning bed.
Mostly, it’s the younger generation of Hollywood who are the tech savvy Twitterers and Facebook gurus. Boston boys Matt Damon and Ben Affleck both have less than 75,000 fans on Facebook put together and neither have verified Twitter accounts. Not that their careers are suffering from it, but using Facebook and Twitter can open up a whole new group of fans and give them a ton of free exposure.
Follow some of our local favorites: @BostonFilmFest and @LoadedGun for celeb and movie news, and @Apaniza and @BrittanyCurran, two Massachusetts actresses.
If any of you have a favorite entertainment Twitterer in Hollywood East, let us know!
Local TV newscasters have always been an integral part of their respective regional dialogue. A formalized, primitive version of the modern “reality star”, these on-air personalities often become stars in their own right, however geographically limited, thanks to their pervasive familiarity. Who else do we welcome into our homes nearly each and every evening, often during a meal, or those late-hours before bed, offering us insight into people and places from our very own communities? Taking this concept into 2010, the age of new media, one local Connecticut channel has turned their next on-air personality into a statewide search for a new local star.
Citizens from around the state were invited to audition to become the next MyTV9 Star back in March. The winner of the contest will receive a one year contract to be a spokesperson for WCTX-MyTV9 in all media and at assigned station/website events, contests, promotions, sales promotions and partner events. In addition to having a great on-air personality and great camera presence, all candidates know how to text, upload video, as well as shoot video and still pictures, and have skills in all things new media, including familiarity with Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. Currently narrowed down to 9 contestants, viewers and fans are invited to vote for who they believe has what it takes to be Connecticut’s next star. The winner will be announced on the channel on April 20, at 8pm.
Only seven months ago, the independent film directed by Allen Cognata, The Putt Putt Syndrome, wrapped up shooting in Winthrop, Maine and as of today, the film’s trailer has already received over 5,400 hits on Youtube. The film, which features Jason London, Thea Gill ,David Chokachi, Heather Tom and Robert Maschio, follows London’s character Johnny, a happily married man who decides to test his bitter friend’s theory about why marriages fail. Johnny, who doesn’t want to believe his friend’s ‘Putt Putt Syndrome’, suddenly realizes he has all the symptoms himself.
When Hollywood East Connection last spoke with the producers of The Putt Putt Syndrome, René Veilleux and Donald Roman-Lopez of Verité Films, they had just finished wrapping up the film and were very excited about the outcome. They are even more thrilled that the film is complete only 7 months after wrapping principal photography. “A lot of films can end up in post-production purgatory,” Veilleux and Lopez tell us, “but together with our director and producing partner Allen Cognata, we had a clear vision of how we would get the film to the finish line as quickly as possible.”
A few months ago, Veilleux and Lopez decided to test the screening of the film with friends and industry professionals. As they read the feedback, one of the viewers wrote, “I do trailers. I work at a trailer house in LA. I really love the film, and would be happy to help you guys with a trailer.” Later, trailer editor Stefanie Crisman took the rough cut of the film and produced an incredible trailer. Veilleux and Lopez are so grateful for Crisman’s work and were blown away by how fantastic it turned out. Watch the trailer below:
Both producers are very modest about the work they have done but had no problem raving about the cast and crew. “It takes a village to raise a child,” Veilleux tells us, “and we really could not have done this without all of the support from the community and our hard-working cast and crew.” Lopez and Veilleux feel very lucky that they got to work with such an “amazing” post-production team as well, including editor Dino Marc Pascarelli in New York City, and composer/sound designer Craig Jansson in Melbourne, Australia. “Both of these teams have gone above and beyond to make our indie film look and sound outstanding,” Lopez tells us. “Sound is a very important element, it could make or break the movie, and we got really a top notch mix!” Veilleux and Lopez are overwhelmed with the response the movie is receiving and are looking forward to the future of the film.
As the film, continues to putt putt along, its first screening will be on February 6th in Winthrop, ME at the Winthrop Performing Arts Center. “We are really looking forward to going back to Winthrop and sharing the film with the cast and crew,” Veilleux tells us. Check out director Allen Cognata’s live interview on 92 Moose Head, central Maine’s hit radio station, where you can hear him talk about the film and leak a red carpet appearance in Winthrop. Cognata will also be conducting an interview airing this Thursday night at 7pm on NBC’s WCSH6 in Portland, Maine.
The film will then continue to putt putt down the coast and into New York City on February 12th for the second screening at the Tribeca Theater, where they will meet up with more cast and crew. It will then head to Los Angeles for another cast, crew and industry screening before they continue submitting it to festivals.
High unemployment rates are no excuse for a hiatus from the job hunt; it’s times like these that require an aggressive approach to career-building. Lucky for you, our Career Scene page just got an extreme makeover: professional edition. Here’s a sampling of some of our featured networking opportunities:
Executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn, so why haven’t you joined yet? A new member registers with the online network approximately every second, gaining access to hundreds of thousands of professionals looking to connect. There’s also a LinkedIn group that caters to the movie magic happening here in New England, aptly named “Hollywood East.” While the group has hardly reached its full potential with fewer than 150 members, the cyber network serves as a platform for discussions about film and television news and job postings.
The “Our Space” sister sites are taking the Web by storm, offering Facebook-esqe capabilities that allow members to promote themselves via photos and videos, a blog, chatting, announcing an event, or engaging in e-conversations via discussion forums. Our Film Space is an active social network “serving the film and television industry in New England.” In addition to posting basic information, members often add a picture reel of head shots and join special interest groups like the “New England Web TV Association” or “Martial Arts in Film.”
Boasting many of the same features and applications is OTSVillage, the official networking site for Our TV Space. OTSVillage announces the collaborative opportunities made possible by Our TV Space: “In addition to developing its own web series (12 series are planned in the initial phase), programming, and digital content, the team at OurTvSpace.com is seeking to partner with others to build its new and exciting Digital Network worldwide.”
Our Film Props–a self-proclaimed “gathering place for artisans and collectors providing goods and services to the film and TV biz”–is the third installation of the networking alliance. Rather than head shots of actors, the photo reel on this site showcases everything from Victorian-style handbags to medieval-looking keys.
Need a break from your computer? Click around the Professional Association links on our Career Scene page to learn more about schmoozing sessions planned by local organizations–all just waiting for you to reach out to them.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Networking in Hollywood East, and in the meantime, start rubbing elbows.
As mentioned in “Networking in Hollywood East,” countless mingling opportunities are just a few clicks away thanks to the wildfire popularity of social media. But one website has gone above and beyond the casting call of duty, building a platform for members of the New England acting community to promote their talents, share tips, and get hired.
Enter industry mogul Bradley J. Van Dussen–actor, professional speaker, voice-over artist, host, team-building facilitator, print model, and founder of NewEnglandActor.com. According to Van Dussen, NewEnglandActor.com started as a social networking site in May of 2008, but quickly left Facebook in its dust with favorable features for acting talent.
“I started working and manipulating the site to begin promoting myself as an actor,” said Van Dussen. “Uploading my acting reel, voice-over demos, modeling photos…I soon realized this site can be used by the actors to promote their talents.”
Testimonials on the site’s homepage emphasize the benefits of such features. “Tools like help make talent more competitive in this industry,” said John Campanello of BetweenGigs Casting. “ was a big help to the producers of The Pond when they were looking for talent to call in for auditions.”
Matt Boudry of CP Casting echoed his sentiments: “…t would be foolish for me not to look at NEActor.com for every job I’m hired to cast.”
As the website’s success stories accrue, membership continues to grow; NewEnglandActor.com currently hosts over 450 member profiles. But membership isn’t for every actor and his brother; according to “My Pledge to You” on the site’s “About” page, “New members must demonstrate their sincerity to the craft of acting, modeling, or voice-overs” by completing tasks like uploading professional-quality photos, presenting a resume, and taking acting classes or auditioning.
One last requirement: members must be from New England, of course. So make the move, west coasters. Big things are happening here.
According to an August 24 post on The Playlist, scouts for The Social Network have recently been scouring Boston and Cambridge for potential filming locations. Based on the founding of Facebook, The Social Network will hit Boston for more than just the tax incentives; the concept of Facebook was in fact born in a Harvard dorm.
With production scheduled to begin next month, the project is already well underway. Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, “The West Wing”, Charlie Wilson’s War) adapted the script from Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, and Columbia Pictures is in “advanced talks” with David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) to direct. Kevin Spacey will produce alongside Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin.
An August 22 post on End of Show reports that the film is currently backed by a $47 million budget.
Columbia Pictures: The Not-So-Accidental Billionaires.
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