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.
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