Sunday, June 6, 2021

Latest Project Updates

 Dear Friends,

A lot has happened since my last post in March. Here are the highlights:

Getting Punchy

My $6M feature film Worth the Fight has inched closer to the starting line with the attachment of my friend and colleague Sean McNamara as director. Sean's past work includes films like Soul Surfer, The Miracle Season and The King's Daughter as well as the upcoming Reagan biopic starring Dennis Quaid. With Sean's involvement, I'm confident we'll be able to attract the kind of cast that will secure a greenlight from our financier.

Cartoon Casting

I managed to attach some great names to the animated feature I'm packaging for client FreeWill Films. Titled SPACEjunk!, the kid-friendly adventure now features the voices of Ed Asner (Up), Mischa Barton (The OC) and Robert Patrick (T2: Judgment Day). The next step is to set the project up with an animation studio. (I've already got a few in mind.)

Back On Set

I just completed shooting my first full production since the onset of COVID, a commercial through Butcher Bird Studios for an aerial technology solutions company. The two-day shoot went extremely smooth, with one day on a green cyc and another at the famous Blue Cloud Ranch where we got to play with all sorts of fun toys, from drones to Hummers to bomb-sniffing robots. Looking forward to seeing the final content, which will likely include multiple spots.

Electric Pics

I also oversaw a multi-site photo shoot for electric vehicle infrastructure company EVCS, which has been responsible for the installation of over half of all non-Tesla EV chargers in Los Angeles since 2020. The stills will be used in cross-platform marketing campaigns such as print, digital and web.

Inheriting an Audience

My latest feature film, The Inheritance, recently completed post production and is in the process of securing distribution. My hope is that it will see a release to streaming and home video platforms later this year.

What Else?

I've been working with numerous clients on several new development projects -- mostly features -- which would shoot in various states across the country if financed, including Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Washington. My work has included script development, budgeting and business plans aimed at preparing the material for investor pitches. I've also been approached by a past client for some more commercial work and a new client for a review of her novels, so this looks to be a busy summer.

On a Personal Note

My wife and I have enjoyed seeing long-time friends and attending social events as the world slowly wakes back up from the lockdowns. We've already planned our latest vacation, too. This year, we'll be traversing the Midwest starting in St. Louis, Missouri and traveling through Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Indiana and Ohio. After this trip, I will have visited 37 states in this great country of ours, with the others soon to come! Life is good :)

Looking forward to seeing what else 2021 has in store. Because one thing is for certain: you never know what the cosmos has planned for you. Just take things one day at a time and be grateful for every day you get to do what you love!

Ciao for now,

Mark



Sunday, March 28, 2021

Spring Is Upon Us...


Spring means many things -- prosperity, rebirth, new life, new beginnings, an end to the dreary coldness of winter. And as more Americans get vaccinated against COVID, we see that, like spring, our country is gradually finding new life as we get back to doing those things that we love.

I have largely stayed away from physical film production over the course of the last year, largely because the increased budgets and draconian rules for dealing with COVID on set made the prospect of producing new indie content a bit onerous.

However, I'm starting to see gradual signs that the industry is reviving from the pandemic-induced quixotism that all but destroyed low-budget filmmaking since March of 2020. Testing is easier, cheaper and less formal. Social distancing rules are more relaxed. Smaller films are getting through principal photography without being shut down.

This gives me some hope that by autumn of this year, I'll be able to wade back into the cool waters of film production with few COVID-related obstacles to hinder my creative process. And just in time, too, as I have several new clients with promising projects that are at least partially financed and looking for a 2021 production start -- many of which could be shooting in a wide range of locales including Texas, New York, Oklahoma and Washington State.

In the meantime, I'm content to keep helping up-and-comers develop their material, run budgets and create pitch decks and business plans. I'm also keen to see the release of my latest feature called The Inheritance (working title: Dailo) -- we completed principal photography two weeks before everything shut down last year! I'll leave you with a teaser trailer the director cut together:

"The Inheritance" Teaser Trailer

And while post isn't quite done yet, I'm hopeful the finished film will find a healthy, prosperous life on various OTT, streaming and home entertainment platforms very soon. A new beginning so to speak. After all, that's what spring's all about, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

2021: A Whole New Year or Just 2020 Continued?

I find it humorous that people think simply because the calendar has rolled over from '20 to '21, we should suddenly find ourselves in a new era free from the dramatic horrors of lockdowns, viruses, riots, social division, murder bees and everything else that's been ailing this country. The positivity inherent in our existence isn't based on the magic of a particular calendar year, but on the acts and decisions of men and women, individually and collectively, and the effects those decisions have on society. In other words, if there are no changes in the way we act as a people, we'll see no change in the world, no matter what the calendar on the wall says.

That said, while 2020 (as of mid March) was a fairly slow year for me as a film producer, with just one major production in the can, 2021 has already started off with much promise. Perhaps that has something to do with my decision to change some of my approaches to filmmaking -- whether that be experimenting with new mediums like streaming episodic and animation or seeking out new ways to parlay my skills during a time when COVID has changed the way the industry operates or donating more of my time and resources to help others.

In particular, I continue to find more ways to share my knowledge with other filmmakers in order to help them find success. One example is my article, "The Effects of Prosumer Technology on Content Creation," which I self-published on this blog a year and a half ago and have since republished on Medium.com due to the significant reader response it received. For those who missed it the first time, you can see it here:

https://mhfilmz.medium.com/the-effects-of-prosumer-technology-on-content-creation-11fb5ca80e06

The info therein is just as relevant today as it was when it first appeared and will hopefully give insight and inspiration to up-and-coming filmmakers yearning to create quality content. More importantly, I hope that the small changes I make within myself, particularly in terms of my generosity toward others, will ultimately radiate outward into the world and give me a renewed sense of purpose, even if that purpose is solely to propagate the success of others. At the end of the day, I figure if I want to see a positive 2021, I might as well start right here at home.