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free streaming tv independent filmmaking TV show reviews tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity

Nathan Fillion’s Uncharted and Sonic the Hedgehog

Now available on TMN and Movies Plus absolutely Free and Without-Commercial interruptions are two great short films. The game-based “Uncharted Live Action Film” with Nathan Fillion co-stars Stephen Lang as Sully. Nathan (playing Nathan) is as funny and snappy as he was in productions like the beloved Sci-Fi “Firefly” and Serenity. And you may be familiar with the Television show “Castle” and his most recent cop-show, “The Rookie.”

Adding to the film’s line up is Stephen Lang who is well known for his long career and performances on the TV-show Terra Nova, and the movie Avatar.

He plays a great Sully. I also enjoyed the brief but well played role of Elena by Mircea Monroe (Just Friends, Change Up.)

And and Geno Segers (Yellowstone) as Diego.

I just loved the Uncharted short movie, which is slated as a “fan film.” Like many fan-made productions, this one is stellar. The production quality and story is terrific, and gosh — I really shouldn’t have to go on about this because…Would Nathan Fillion do anything but a top-notch project? No. Does he participate in shows that are less than big, Network productions? Yes. Watch the Kickstarter funded web series “Con Man” if you want to get a laugh and see another non-network production with great performances by this actor and his cohorts.

While we’re talking about fan made films, I should direct you to another LIVE ACTION Uncharted movie that I enjoyed. This is a foreign language film with English sub-titles. If you would like to see this posted on my Roku channels, then please do let me know. Meanwhile, you may watch it here:

Back to Nathan Fillion’s Uncharted. The movie left me wanting for more. I just so wanted it to be a longer film. But, not to disappoint, the ‘inter-web scuttlebug’ does indicated that a full-length feature film is scheduled for 2021.

Here’s what IMDB and Wikipedia say:Uncharted is an upcoming American action adventure film directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Serving as an origin story of Nathan Drake from the video games of the same name created by Naughty Dog, the film stars Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas.

Okay, so before I go today I need to remind you that I am streaming another great short film based on a game. Sonic the Hedgehog, the LIVE ACTION movie, with a CGI Hedgehog. This is a great film.

The snarky hedgehog helps out our human-heroes in a fun, and thrilling Sci-Fi film that you may watch Free and AD-Free on my TMN and Movies Plus Roku Channels, and also my Android TV-Apps. The CGI is spectacular and the acting is bang-on. Here’s a peak:

Cheers, and enjoy (c) Dean Lachiusa

Help me keep this blog and the FREE and AD-FREE TV channels going. Donate whatever you can…
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tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity viral video Influencers branded TV

New on Roku

Here’s a quick peak at the latest videos that I’ve posted on TMN and Movies Plus.

Leon Lush is a fun YouTuber who discusses some of the latest Viral Videos that are less than genuine. He’s really quite clever, funny, and edgy.
Alex is cute. Her bird is too. But she’s all business. And her advise is bang-on.
Jade operates a consulting business based upon her own success as an influencer.

[Updated and now available per June 18th]And coming up on my Roku channels very soon is a compilation video that is sponsored by FluentialTV.com. It’s a great collection of 1950’s commercial advertisements. You’ll see everything from old automobile ads to dish washing soap and brands that you recall with fondness. Also, there is advertising for products that sound so-dang weird that they reek of “snake-oil.” Watch it on my TV-Apps or see the youtube video below.

If you’re an influencer, viral video or informational film producer you may have your video placed on Television for broadcast to over half a million subscribers. I also publish Movies Plus on Amazon Fire TV, and that platform will be available for broadcast lease and/or per individual video streaming too. Simply see the Fluential website for details or message me directly on Facebook or Twitter.

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Creativity and Thought Starters tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity Uncategorized viral video Influencers branded TV

Influential video of the week

I’ve started a new service that is designed to help Vloggers, Influencers, and other Viral-Video producers. I’ve always streamed unique content on my TV channels, and now I am dedicating an entire category to content that is fun and informational. Below is a video that I WON’T BE STREAMING. However, I think it makes a great point no matter where you stand politically, so here goes.

If you’re wondering why I chose to post this video, then maybe you’re like many of the folks out there that don’t believe there is a Virus-Crisis. Well, for those of you who don’t think it’s happening. I say, nothing. I have harsh opinions mind you — but it’s not worth my breath to share them here. So I say nothing.

For those of you who are interested in the FUN side of informational videos. Check out my channels. Or perhaps you’re interested in putting your Youtube video in front of an audience of over 1,000,000 Television watchers? (That’s over a million) viewers on our Partner TV channels!

I have a success story that will back this up. Keep in mind please that feature films typically DO NOT GET AS MUCH ATTENTION AS VIRAL VIDEOS! That being said, here’s how a filmmaker, named Alex took advantage of this offer, and now he has a distribution deal with Green Apple Entertainment. This might seem like a shameless plug — but really for about 30 bucks Influencers, Vloggers, and Viral Video Producers can do the same…

Alexander Pimentel, Director of “Down River” streamed his feature film on our Partners connected TV channel, “Movies Plus” on Amazon Fire TV. After 6 months and 70,000 downloads, Alex shared the news with a Venture capitalist who agreed to finance Alex’s next feature film. [Remember I said that films do not enjoy the same number of plays as a short video — so if you have a viral video, it should do much better than Alex’s.] As a DIRECT RESULT Alex landed a deal with Green Apple Entertainment to distribute his movies on Hulu and other platforms. Here’s a news article about the filmmaker’s success on our Amazon Fire TV channel:

So you see, this is a very inexpensive way to promote yourself, build up your portfolio, and your Youtube Channel, etc. Simply message me care of my FB page: www.Facebook.com/DeanLach or see the website that is currently in (beta. It’s www.fluentialTV.com ) Cheers! (c) Dean Lachiusa

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Uncategorized

Will the next President fix our school loan system?

The following picture is a flashback…This is after shooting a few scenes in a Phoenix area TV studio. It happened as I was walking from one editing booth to another, and I just happened to walk right into a sliding glass door. The glass shattered, cutting four-tendons on my left hand.


This was just one of many fiasco’s that I endured while attending Scottsdale Community College. That place was a nightmare.
For example, the film department-head told us many times that we had to suffer through the small classroom size and editing rooms. BUT she never, ever let on that the film-department was being expanded into a full-size studio in the next year. (They built it during summer just after I graduated. – Damn!)

Now, what I have today is an enormous school loan debt. It was a simple Stafford Loan. Guaranteed by the Government. As it turns out, the guarantee has nothing to do with the Government regulating how the loan is administrated. No, the only guarantee is that the student (in need) will get the loan. And what does this say about the student loan system? Does it sound like an environment prime for predatory loan practices?

The loan that I received sure did bite me in the arse. And I’m quite sure that it has not improved much because I continue to hear horror stories from students who were desperate for school-money. Like me, they trusted that when their government says it “guarantees” a loan, that it surely must be an arrangement that is honest.

Let’s look at the banks angle. What savvy lender wouldn’t do this deal? Once you, the student accepts the loan, then there’s no negotiation with the lender. The borrower can’t claim bankruptcy — nope, that will not get you out of a public-school-loan like the Stafford.

And here’s the killer. If the bank decides to sell the loan, then it gets capitalized. And that’s to the lender’s advantage you see, because they get to amortize the debt.

And I should know, because my school loan was SOLD and then CAPITALIZED (3) times. And now the new (4rth) owner of the loan is threatening to do it again. The amount I now owe is TRIPLE the amount of the original loan. Do you have any idea how oppressive this dollar amount is? Let’s just say that I can’t afford to pay it off, and it’s so incredibly large that I’m too embarrassed to quote the sum.

Will the next President’s Administration take the power away from the Student Loan companies and give people a fighting chance to repair their credit? I don’t know. I do know that Sanders talked about doing something about it, and so did Elizabeth Warren. However, I think what they promised were free or low cost tuition programs for new students.

I don’t know if anyone in the States has a plan to address the problem that I and so many former students are suffering from. How about Joe Biden — do you think that he will help? Let us pray. Or even better yet — let’s come together and fight this thing.

Let’s start a petition or movement to get our Governor’s and Senator’s working on a fix. Care to join me? Please comment, share or write me care of my FB page: Facebook.com/DeanLach — Cheers to ya. (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
TV show reviews tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity

Corner Gas star Hiccups on TV

I love Corner Gas the Canadian made TV show, and I very much enjoy the Hiccups program that Brent Butt produced. I also watched the Corner Gas movie, but you won’t find any links to it here because it’s on the Amazon (Fire TV) channel “IMDB” — and, I don’t think it was quite as funny as the Corner Gas TV show or the Animated sequel — but that’s just me, please don’t be offended.

Okay, so this article is going to be short and sweet. There’s a clip here so that you can get acclimated with the series showrunner, and a link to add my FREE and ADFREE android app to watch the Hiccups TV program.

That’s Brent Butt, the series writer, a lead actor, and comic book illustrator. He’s married to Corner Gas costar Nancy Robertson, who plays the lead role of a children’s book author who ironically has a unpredictable, slightly mean hearted knee-jerk “no-filter” personality in the TV series, Hiccups.

Here’s the rest of the cast…

Pictured above is all Canadian talent: The very funny Nancy Robertson as Millie Upton, and standing to her right is Laura Soltis as Joyce Haddison, then we have David Ingram as Taylor Rymes, and next to him is Emily Perkins as Crystal Braywood — the receptionist/daddy’s-girl. Seated is Paula Rivera as Anna Dirko (Stan Dirko’s wife) — and of course the hilarious Brent Butt as “Life Coach” Stan Dirko

When and if I get the permission to stream this program or some of the clips on my channels, then you’ll hear about it on this blog — or simply stay tuned to my free, adfree connected TV channels. Here’s some links before I go. Brent’s Youtube site (not for his TV shows or movies) https://www.youtube.com/TheButtpod and his website (blog) http://www.brentbutt.com/ Cheers for now. (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
Creativity and Thought Starters The New Utopia Uncategorized

Creativity and more may be suffering

Recently on Facebook, I tried to make a joke about the relationship between Boomers and Millennial’s — but it was misunderstood. So this makes me reflect upon my writing style lately. And this in turn effects everything I post on my streaming TV channels, including my custom edits like my recent video compilation about Star Trek Music.

I think I’m loosing my ability to write creatively, freely and with a naturally flowing “stream of consciousness.” And I think this is because I’ve been closed-up in a house just like so many of you during this virus-crisis.

So I may choose to take a break from writing for a while.

But before I do, I’d like to say a little something about why I think some people may want to lash-out at the political parties, and get-out of the house during a government lock-down.

Some of this may seem obvious, but bare with me please.

1.) You’re running a business and you’re suffering.

2.) You’re trying to make ends-meet and it’s pretty darn hard to make money if you can’t go to work.

3.) You may feel that Democrats are to blame and/or it’s another type of conspiracy.

4.) You may think “why should I listen to an order to stay home when I feel like my personal liberties are being violated.”

5.) Perhaps you have never lived through an epidemic or pandemic before. Or maybe you never learned about the 1918, 1957, or 1968 Influenza pandemic’s. Or you’ve never heard of the Yellow Fever, Tuberculosis, and Polio epidemic’s. And because of this, you feel that this current Virus-Emergency is a imposition on you personally, and the rest of society should follow or at least understand your train of thought.

Okay so those are a few reasons, and I’m sure you can think of many others. You may even have a neighbor like I do who is a senior citizen — and he or she has a few strange sounding warnings to share. Interesting enough, seniors do have a unique perspective. They may be old enough to tell you how people coped with hardships during the Depression and WWII.

The Boomer Generation and their forefathers lived through some pretty rough times compared to today.

I’m a little young to be a Boomer – but even I have worked in a factory building automobiles — and it was very hot and fast paced work. We didn’t have Robotics, we had sweat. The hydraulic press that I operated had a worn out brake, which meant at any moment it could send tons of steel down upon my hands. This was a recipe for crushed hands and missing digits — if my timing was not precise and very fast.

Our seniors may tell you that they stood in line during WWII with a “Ration-stamp” that allowed them to buy only 1LB of meat per week for their entire family — that is, when it was available at the local butcher. Pork and Beef were a luxury. Everything, including general goods like clothing was rationed by the government because the War was a priority. Therefore, folks could only purchase goods like Clothing and Shoes when/if they qualified for a clothing or shoe ration. They lived through it because they respected each other and they loved their country.

Let’s go back to the 1930’s. If you know a senior citizen in their 80’s or older, they may tell you about how they depended on “Government Relief.” During the Depression, many people existed on canned food that was shipped to the U.S. by Australia. It was unlabeled, and usually Mutton (3 year old sheep) or a Spam-like ham-product. Again, the U.S. struggled through it because we respected one another and loved our country. Good People didn’t put their energy into tearing each other down or rebelling.

I know these things because my mother lived through it, and I double-check her recall by reading historical books and watching documentary films. (Bye the way, I do stream military documentaries on my Roku channel Stars and Stripes.)

The boomers and their fathers and grandfathers built the U.S. infrastructure. They built the roads, bridges, and most buildings including the electrical and plumbing systems that we use today. I think it’s important to respect what they have to say.

But perhaps you feel as though the people who are saying these things are judging you or imposing their “old-timer” “boomer” mentality on you. So here’s my explanation, for what it’s worth…

“Young” folks may feel that “older” folks are putting them down or accusing them. However, the reason that an older person (may ) say these things is that they are concerned for the younger generation.

In most cases, older folks just want to protect the future generation — at least, that’s what I would prefer to take away from “boomer” statements, not the negative side of things.

I hope that you take away some positive reinforcement from this article, really I do. I’m especially concerned because I know that my current stress level is effecting my ability to write well. So forgive me please if this article seems disjointed, and feel free to comment if you like. Cheers. (c) Dean Lachiusa

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cord cutters TV show reviews Uncategorized

Snowpiercer, War of the Worlds offer more Apocalypse

In this age of media-overload, why on earth do some folks find the need to be reminded of ongoing events? Are we so darn oversaturated with viral videos, movies, TV, and news broadcasts that we actually desire to watch programming that mirrors what is going on right now? I guess so, because despite the fact that we’re living in a Virus-Crisis, we have more and more entertainment that further explores the horror that our neighbors live with.

Horror and Sci-Fi programming War of the Worlds, the latest Epix network TV-Series adapted from the classic radio broadcast, and Snowpiercer — the TV-series spin-off of a feature film are now available.

I did enjoy a few of the War of the Worlds episodes, especially because the streaming was offered as part of a free preview with my Dish package. But I wouldn’t pay to watch the show, and it certainly didn’t encourage me to subscribe to Epix. The series was captivating at first because the situation was mysterious, and the creatures were quite frightening.

However, after a few episodes there was a scene that really disappointed me. We were given a glimpse of the alien-creatures early on in the show (don’t worry, this is really not a spoiler — unless you’re entirely new to the War of the Worlds story.)

A little history…In 1938 Orson Welles broadcast on radio an adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. Notably, then came the 1953 film (my favorite) and then the 2005 version by Steven Spielberg with Tom Cruise. (There also are many low budget productions available, including two by C. Thomas Howell. Although I really like this actor, I have tried to watch these, and I can’t in good faith recommend them.)

Here’s a very cool short documentary about the 50’s films, complete with detailed examples of effects — and if you haven’t yet seen the “creatures,” or the “spaceships” it’s a must see — but you may wish to hold off on seeing this video until you can catch the entire feature film.

Oh yes, back to my sort-of spoiler. The creatures in the Epix series firstly looked very scary to me, but in a few episodes later, there is a scene where Bill (Gabriel Byrne) encounters one of them:

SPOILER ALERT: The creature just plods up to Bill like a dog with three legs, Bill then grabs it and holds it at bay as it (attempts) to kill him. Not scary – the creature appears to be less than formidable. What a let down. And there’s other holes in the story, like the predictable scene wherein “Catherine” is looking for her missing sister, only to find a young girl who was hiding in a cave. Does Catherine ask the girl if she has seen her sister…perhaps hiding in the cave too? Nope. I found it just dumb and a tell. Would Catherine’s sister show up later in the show…and where was she hiding? The answer is predictable! 😉 😉

Moving on to less epic films based upon previous broadcasts, we have the Sci-Fi “Snowpiercer.” When I watched the feature film, I tired of it after the first half hour. I just didn’t find it plausible. But, apparently many folks have, because now we have a TV series based upon the feature.

Recently AXS TV showed a few Snowpiercer clips that did entice me. So I guess I may watch the TV series sometime after this virus-crisis. But for now, I’ve had enough dystopian programming. I just can’t watch any more dark, apocalyptic movies and TV. Right now, I need positive TV. So instead — I’ll watch my Movies Plus and TMN Roku or Fire TV channels.

[Update 5/19/2020 – Dish offered me a free preview of the series with one of my favorites, Jennifer Connelly. So I decided to break my rule early — I watched SnowPiercer, one episode of the series.

SPOILER ALERT! Sorry, but I’m still not convinced that a train is best place to go in the time of an Apocalyptic Ice-Age. SnowPiercer is a train that bye the way – apparently never stops. Think about it — I did, during the show. And that’s not good. You’re not supposed to be thinking about the plausibility of a premise during a movie or TV show. After you watch it, sure — it’s okay to reflect upon the show. But during it, suspension of disbelief is supposed to take hold. But they never answer the question of how.

How do they get fresh water or energy on a train that never stops? Just show me a darn solar panel (oops — no sun!) Or show me a snow-scooper thing-a-ma-jig that turns snow into drinkable water. Uggh! I’m done, I won’t be watching this show again, despite the fact that I love Sci-Fi. Also, they showed a preview of the next episode, and it featured a bunch of people rebelling, and a bloody massacre. Who needs it – I don’t! Sorry to be so harsh…]

I hope you carefully choose what you watch and to be positive too, please don’t let negative distractions bring you down. Cheers to ya – and I invite you to join me in the conversation – especially if you feel that I’ve been too harsh in my reviews. (c) Dean Lachiusa

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The New Utopia Uncategorized

National Eat Anything you want Food Day

Warning this is an article that has nothing to do with film and TV, and everything to do with going zonko during this virus crisis. I just heard (on TV) that it was “National Eat Anything you want Day.” And while it sounds kinda hokie to me, it did inspire me to think about the foods that I would eat (if) given the chance to eat anything I wanted (without) the side effects. In other words — what if God or Super Cool Aliens from Planet Wonko gave me the power to eat anything I liked with no concerns about salt, sugar, fat, or cholesterol?

So here goes, my list of foods that I would eat if given the chance at total immunity.

A Detroit coney island dog, with onions and mustard. In Detroit, the most infamous local coney restaurants are Lafayette and American — and they sit right next to each other in downtown Detroit, in our reborn city which at one time housed Onassis Coney, Vernors Ginger Ale, and J.L. Hudson’s Maurice salad. If you’re from the D, then you know the history of the Greek family who started a restaurant, and then decided to open rival Coney Island restaurants right next door to each other.

Their hot dog is similar to the East sides most famous chain of Coney restaurants, National Coney island, and the West sides Kerby Coney. These chains use dogs made of beef and pork. It’s a European-style Vienna sausage with a beef, pork, and sometimes lamb or sheep casing.

This is not to be confused with the New York style hot deli dog, which I love when it’s a Sabrett or a Hebrew National. These brands are available with a casing similar to the D’s recipe but with a different sauce. The NY sauce is called a “chili” but it’s not a Texas style chili. The NY chili is a relish sauce made with tomato, and regular or sweet Vidalia onions. You’ll find this kind of topping in Erie, PA and other places too.

When you bite into any kind of a top-quality Coney or “deli-dog” it “SNAPS.” The texture is wonderful and the flavor is just out of this world. There are other styles of dogs that I would put on my virtual plate of must eat comfort food, including coney’s from “Johnny’s Lunch” in Jamestown, NY and the “Varsity” in Atlanta, GA. Perhaps you have your favorite? Like the Cincinatti Chili dog?

Cincinatti is known for a breed of Chili unlike any other in the U.S or Canada. It’s beef without beans, and sometimes cinnamon, and always a bit of chocolate — and it’s NOT SWEET. You can get it at Skyline chili and other restaurants. Below is 4-way Cincinnati_chili. That means, a base of noodles, topped with Chili, onions, beans, and cheese.

If you’d like to experiment with ingredients from the traditional recipe made without beans try the following. 2 pounds lean ground beef. 1 quart water, or amount to cover 2 onions, finely chopped. 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce. 2 tablespoons vinegar and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. 4 cloves garlic, minced. ½ (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate. ¼ cup chili powder. 1 ½ teaspoons salt. 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon. ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper. 5 whole cloves. 5 whole allspice-berries. 1 bay leaf.

Virtually traveling around the Mid-East via my taste-buds reminds me of another New York favorite of mine, the Giant Salted street vendor Pretzel.

This is a unique animal. It’s not any old warm pretzel. The trick to finding the best pretzel is this: Look for a seasoned, experienced pretzel vendor, you can tell they know their business by their age, and they’ll likely be missing a leg or a few digits. (Weird but true!)

Secondly, make sure the vendor is selling roasted Chestnuts too. Not because you are required to order the nuts — no, it’s a seasoning thing. The nuts flavor the salt. So, when you order your Pretzel, ask him to grind the pretzel into the salt on the bottom of the nut/pretzel steamer. Now you can add mustard, and enjoy your carbs 😉

Okay, the next food that I’ll eat if I ever get into the situation where I can eat anything I want without regret is from down South.

The Carolina pulled pork sandwich. The trick here is to order a genuine southern style pit-roasted pork topped with homemade slaw and dressing. The slaw is unique and it is paired with a dressing that is important. It’s a vinegar based dressing — not a tomato/barbecue sauce topping.

A quick recipe for Carolina style pulled pork sauce…

  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

My next choice is related to this, it’s the Kansas City style BBQ roast or sandwich. It’s made with KC/St. Louis style sauce, and this is what I find in my grocery store. I wish that I had my choice of Carolina dressing — but it’s just not available at local retailers. KC sauce is a sweet and delicious sauce that can be found in many different taste-combinations from Bourbon to Hot to Honey. I love barbecue, so I’d love to have a healthy heaping of Beef and Pork Ribs too. As long as I’m dreaming — pile it on!

On the side ,let’s go with some seasoned French fries, with some tater-tots, and a few onion rings and fried cheese sticks.

Ohh, let’s not forget my favorite, Buffalo style wing dings. I’ve sampled them from hundreds of restaurants and bars, and I have to tell you that they really are served best from Buffalo, NY area establishments. If you’re vacationing around Erie PA or Buffalo, NY — then visit Chautauqua County where you’ll find the Casino in Bemus Point, NY or my absolute favorite, BJ’s bar in Fredonia. BJ’s bar has a distinctive recipe — and it’s worth the 45 minute wait.

Why on earth would it take over a half hour to make a batch of wing dings…don’t they just fry ’em and coat them with sauce?

I’ve watched BJ’s cook their wings, and I can tell you what makes the difference is their (2) step cooking process. First, they fry the wings, then they baste/toss the wings with sauce just like any other place. But they’re not done yet. They then put the wings into the broiler, and zorch the sauce into the wings. Delicious!

And let’s not forget the most important part of any Wing Ding — right this down if you have to because this is the testament baby. BLUE CHEESE DRESSING. That’s right, you can dip your wings into Ranch dressing like most restaurants do, or you can do it the way the original Buffalo style Wing Ding was served. With chunky blue cheese dressing and a side of carrots and celery. Ahhh, Buffalo style wings are paradise! 😉

Lastly, I’d like to indulge in a slice of Chicago style pizza.

It’s similar to our Detroit style pizza, which is a thick square pizza made famous by Buddys Pizzeria, the Cloverleaf restaurant, and Mr. C’s deli on the East side of Detroit.

(Hey, if you’re shopping at Mr. C’s – grab an E&B tall-boy beer and have a swig of history ehh? — Kidding!) But speaking of beverages, I really would like an ice cold Faygo Red pop or their Cream Soda.

Aww, geez, it never ends — if I have a soda, then I need a bag of Ketchup flavored potato chips from Canada. Dill pickle chips are okay, and Chicken flavored are weird, but Ketchup or “catsup” is divine. I’m getting hungry for lunch – time to go… (c) Dean Lachiusa

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brake by Stephen Dorff Uncategorized

Brake – a “brakedown” of the one location film

I really enjoyed watching the feature film BRAKE the other day. It reminded me of the kind of script that we dreamed of writing while in film school. The one location script. Back then, using one or two locations, and a minimal cast meant “low budget.” But I’d have to say that this film did not seem anything like a low budget film — at least it didn’t cross my mind while I was watching it. The story was very compelling, and I was never taken out of the film. The thoughts that I’m sharing with you today are in retrospect.

Today, I’m going to analyze the movie, and I have to warn you that I’m doing this based upon what I’ve seen on my TV, not on a director’s script breakdown or other production document. I’m writing this from my point of view, and I’m going to talk to you as if you and/or a film-buddy are considering producing a film, OR I expect that you’ve either watched Brake or you’ll possibly watch it on Showtime or online sometime. Here’s a peak…

I have no idea what the budget was for this film, but I would assume that the lead actor, Stephen Dorff would require some serious financial backing. And that monetary guesstimate is more than what the typical film student can drum up. Anyway, he did a wonderful job. But again, the cast, crew, and other production talent, is not what I’m breaking down today. Today, we’ll talk about some other elements in the movie. Let’s have some fun and “Brake” it down…

Can a Feature film be shot for $500?

Let’s look at the Script. While in film school, I imagined myself to be the kind of filmmaker who would come up with an idea that I thought was marketable, and then instead of writing it myself, I would go out and hire someone to write it. Low budget was my main interest. (Of course, because I had no money 😉

So, to shoot a film in one location, with minimal lights, cast, and crew was a major aspiration for me. 16mm film was expensive, and it required good lights and a crew that knew how to handle everything from sandbagging a reflector board to running cables to several outlets so we wouldn’t blow a fuse. I love the challenge of lighting a film. So let’s look at Cinematography.

When I look at Brake I don’t think the script called for sets that required allot of lighting. The first location, which is one set…runs for nearly the entire movie. Let’s analyze the lighting on the main set or scenery. The story is set in our time – we are not given any information that would indicate that this is a period piece, futuristic or anything else but a contemporary movie.

The main “set” requires the actor to be lying down. He will roll from side to side and change positions, but he doesn’t walk around. So there’s really no EST or “Establishing Shot” like you would (typically) see in the beginning sequence of a movie. Instead we ‘establish’ that he’s inside a small dark, enclosure. There’s direct lighting on our lead-man, and minimal lighting that hits the walls surrounding him. So, it’s an Interior shot -which means a sound studio or home studio. When you’re shooting with budget in mind, then this is sweet because there are no concerns about being rained out or losing your light.

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not yet watched the trailer…Soon we discover, he’s in a trunk of a car. Or I should say a constructed set that looks like the trunk of a car. Our lead-man, Stephen Dorff is trapped inside a coffin-like glass box, inside of a ‘car trunk.’

Stephen Dorff as Jeremy

So INT’s or “Interior Shots” are a plus when you’re scheduling a film shoot. Shooting indoors is sometimes preferable because anytime that you have to shoot outside you then have to schedule around acts of nature, and that can cause delays. A delay like running out of daylight, rain, or snow may require rescheduling. And it’s a nightmare when your cast/crew can’t show up for a makeup shoot. A filmmaker could even lose his leading man, and that could ruin the entire production.

To wrap up my comments about Cinematography…You may be wondering about shooting glass (or acrylic.) It typically reflects light, and sometimes the crew will “dull” reflective surfaces in order to eliminate a reflection on camera. In this movie, it appears that they didn’t have to shoot Dorf (through the glass box) for most of the shots. So from where I sit, reflections on the glass were not much of a concern.

Let’s talk about Sound. Sound is another factor that eliminated the need for all the talent to be on set or in the studio. Brakes used off-screen voices throughout the film. But these VO’s or “voice overs” were likely recorded later, after the shoot — in a sound studio. This is also where they would have recorded audio like Police sirens, road noise, phone-calls and CB-radio-conversations. So, I’m going to once again go out on a limb and assume that in this case the sound crew was minimal on the actual days of Principal shooting.

Tom Berenger, a Marqee Value Cameo

Oh, bye the way, do you mind if I reveal just a little about our leadman? His name is Jeremy Reins. That’s all I’ll say. Now, instead of saying “Dorf” — I’ll refer to him as “Jeremy.” Okay, moving on.

Props! Inside of the trunk was a CB radio, a digital clock, and a speaker that was taped to the glass box. There also was a old style flip-phone. So let’s see — that’s about 25 bucks in prop cost!

Let’s look more at the cost of things on the Set. Jeremy was in a car that was moving. This could have been simulated easily by manually pushing the car (aka box/trunk) from side to side, and rocking it up and down. There was one shot of him looking through a hole in the glass into the interior of the car. The audience sees a car-dash – no actor was revealed. So, that was a second-set that needed to be prepared for shooting. I could see the front windshield of the car, but no exteriors.

Later on in the movie there was a gunshot hole in the trunk. This allowed Jeremy to look through it – into an alley, the pinhole shot revealed one actor and a dog. Okay, so you might need a dog “wrangler” if you’re doing a film that features a dog in many scenes. But in this film, I’m guessing that one of the cast/crew brought their well-behaved fido in for a day of shooting. Similar to the POV (point of view) shot that I described prior to this, it could have been done inside a studio. The alley could easily have been a pseudo alley.

Chyler Leigh Potts is Jeremy’s wife.

There was another POV from inside of the trunk, and this is a third set-up worth mentioning. I could see that the “car” was moving, and the (trunk) popped open just a crack, and Jeremy could see a police car, ramming the trunk. So, a police-car grill, hood and lights would be required. Again, this could be fabricated — there would be no need to rent an expensive cop car. And this again could have been shot in a studio as long as the filmmaker was clever enough to emulate the back and forth motion of a moving cop-car.

Next, an interior of an ambulance. A filmmaker would need a truck and/or two swinging truck doors painted white with red stripes. Props needed: A hospital gurney or similar wheeled stretcher. An oxygen tank, accessories and various clutter. No equipment was really focused upon, and the set looked genuine.

A quick mention about Special Effects. Jeremy has been hurt, after all IF you’ve seen the movie or trailer, then you know there is a BEE scene. Okay, so that’s a special effect or practical effect to be reckoned with. I for one, would use a leaf blower or a powerful hair dryer and blow fake Bee’s into the trunk. (Maybe you have a better idea.) Moving on – from inside the moving Ambulance, the audience gets a quick glimpse of the Washington Monument outside. This was shot through the dusty-glass of the Ambulance back door, and easily could have been just a poster, OR a Special Effects shot done in post. (Note that when a filmmaker uses a green screen while shooting principal photography then they are forced to do composite work in post.)

Back to Set analysis. There is a “redressing” of the Alley shot used earlier. It’s an EXTERIOR shot that is not a POV taken from inside the car! A black Excalibur or similar vehicle pulls up and a CAMEO actor — Tom Berenger delivers a few lines.

Then there’s some minimal coverage of an action shot. This kind of coverage actually requires an EST, a three-quarters shot, and some close ups. And trust me, this is rare coverage for this film, remember most of this movie is about a guy in a car trunk. I won’t discuss how his connection to the outside world is done in detail because it’s part of the charm of the movie, and I don’t want to ruin it for you. There is one prop in this scene worth mentioning. A gun.

Let’s talk more about the talent. For those of you who know the actor Tom Berenger, I think you know that including him would add some considerable cost to this film. (Funny enough, the Showtime description of the movie did not credit him — and I for one think he’s what would be considered “Marquee Value” or “bankable talent.” We do see some extras in the background. We do meet Jeremy’s wife and she also has a few lines. And Jeremy’s partner is in the shot — we see a brief cameo with the actor, JR Bourne.

JR Bourne (David Bourne) of Fringe and Stargate SG-I.

And finally, while we’re talking about Marquee Value talent — let us not forget the lead man, Stephen Dorff. I’m quite sure he is the most expensive asset in the movie, and worth it. He just did a fantastic job, and this film is terrific. Consider hiring an actor like this when/if you ever shoot a film because it will make or “brake” your movie.

I wish I could afford to license Brake and stream it to you free on my channels, but that won’t happen right now. For those of you who have never worked on a film, or have not yet had the pleasure of seeing this particular film — I urge you to see this movie, or make a movie — and then return to this article to see how I’ve done in my “Brake-down.” And feel free to let me know your thoughts! Cheers. (c) Dean Lachiusa

Update June 2020: This is a reply from the Director of Brake, Gabe Torres!
Categories
cord cutters free streaming tv TV show reviews Uncategorized

Captain Z-Ro is not a zero!

Ahhh, the 50’s an innocent era of television where you if you actually owned a TV, the reception was so poor and limited that you were likely to tune in black and white static and fuzz. And on a good day or during “prime time” the programming was limited to slightly out of focus live Boxing matches or family-variety shows by talent like Joey Bishop and Red Skeleton.

Local channels started to capitalize upon the relatively new medium by producing shows that were sponsored by manufactures like Lucky Cigarettes and Lark Automobiles. Usually a television show featured the sponsors advertisement prior to the show, but in rare occasions there was no promotion at all — like the California production “Captain Z-Ro.”

Captain Z-Ro was a family friendly show that is actually very well done, especially for something that resembles a “KINO” production.

Kino was the process of filming a live production for the purposes of archiving a program, and it was usually done in black and white, 16mm film. The quality was typically low-contrast because the film-camera recorded directly from a Television camera monitor.

That being said, Captain Z-Ro is a very nice watch because the editing is incredibly precise, and the sets are pretty darn good. Especially if you consider the high cost of doing “period pieces.” Also, if you watch the show you’ll enjoy the Mod looking exterior of the Captain’s Space-Base, and the groovy space-aged laboratory inside.

Show creator and lead-man Captain Z-Ro is played by Roy Steffens. His young, trusty sidekick Bruce Haynes plays Jet.

Every episode is History oriented. It’s actually quite entertaining and informative, in it’s quaint way — I mean, in our day and age television is competitive and the production quality is usually excellent. So, when I look at an old show, I try to appreciate it for what it was back in the day.

Captain Z-Ro is a family show, each week our hero’s use their cool ‘time-machine’ to visit a new place in history, and they correct any wrong doings or impending errors to the timeline. (And we all know that our history books are perfectly accurate — so you can see how Captain Z-Ro can apply what is written in order to…”safeguard mankind and history from impending harm…” wink, wink, wink 😉

This fun show ran for 26 episodes from 1955 – 56, and was directed by David Butler. I really got a kick out of the first episode, and if you’d like to watch to see this and more, FREE and AD-FREE, then I hope you add my TV Channels, and donate what you can via my Patreon campaign to help me afford to add the complete series here’s the link: www.patreon.com/moviesplus

That’s it for now, but please don’t hesitate to let me know (if) you’d like to see more episodes. Leave a comment or gift a buck or more on the Patreon site, and then I’ll post them here and on my Roku/Fire TV channels. Cheers! (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
The New Utopia

U.S. you’re hired! China you’re fired?

I have confidence, confidence in the fact that our Government will act out with a gun shot reaction to this virus crisis. An action towards China. China has three (recent) strikes against them. SARS, Avian “Bird Flu” and now this dang Virus. But this kind of thing is not new to the world, really we’ve battled everything from Yellow Fever to Polio. But importantly, we should take note that China has a long history of being responsible for large scale infections including in 1957 the “Asian flu” , and in 1968 the “Hong Kong flu” and also 1977’s “Russian flu.” They have a history of spreading influenza, and now it’s a bad reputation. And because they don’t seem to learn a lesson, I think it’s about time we “fired” China.

But let’s not confuse who is at fault for the virus — it’s not the average Chinese citizen. They’re cogs in a great big wheel. And it certainly is NOT in any way the fault of your Chinese neighbor or the local Chinese restaurant.

It’s time, time to give the U.S. the opportunity to manufacture the products that we used to do so well. Do I sound like an economic expert? 😉 I don’t know a darn thing about how our economy works when compared to the experts out there.

But I do have the life experience to remind you — or tell you for the first time…that there was a day when the United States manufactured things like dishwashers and other household appliances. And these products performed in the American household for years and years without the need for repair. And when I say years…I mean 20 years or more. Imagine a dishwasher, like the one installed in my house 35 years ago. My old dishwasher was made by Kitchenaid. It ran for 30 years, until 5 years ago when it finally started to act funky. It didn’t completely stop working, but it started to make funny noises and it wasn’t cleaning the dishes well.

So, I made the mistake of replacing it with a new Kitchenaid. God only knows where this thing was really manufactured, because the repairman who fixed it just 5 months after I had it installed told me it was NOT anything like my old unit. He said it was “made in China, with parts from all over the place.” “…The computers in these things are lemons…” We discussed it a little further and he said that Kitchenaid is like Sears now…It’s just a brand name that relies on it’s old reputation – but it is not the same quality, it’s all made in China.

Sears was a cornerstone of American craftsmanship, including their Kit houses.

I’m sure you’ve heard this kind of talk before. It’s the “scuttlebug” that we’ve been churning out for years now. And in a large part it’s our fault, right. I mean, we love to save money, we love a deal. And how many of us shop at the dollar store on a regular basis? We all know that it’s cheaper to buy a new toaster or coffee machine than to repair one. And in the end — who doesn’t like a bargain?

But we need to break this model. We, the U.S. citizens need to understand that it might be difficult, but we have to find a way to break away from these cheap products, and instead make our own products again. Made by us, bought by us.

This may be a Utopian train of thought. Maybe it’s just too difficult to do this. But right now, we’re forced to be inventive. We have to find a way to manufacture medical masks, gloves, hand sanitizers. And we have to find a way to deliver locally made goods to each other. Because, we are each others customers. We have to learn to depend on each other, to trust each other like we did “back in day.”

I’d like to make this article feel complete by suggesting that I do believe that we’ll have a cure for this virus soon. I think that some laboratory will come up with a vaccine or at least a anti-virus cocktail that will prevent lung inflammation and Pneumonia. I have faith in this because I know that the company that comes up with a solution will make a ton of money. So there’s an incentive.

Meanwhile, if you want to make a nice chunk of change…come up with a solution for a need in your community. What needs are not being taking care of? It can be anything. Think about it.

For example, the other day I watched an advertisement by a Pizza company for their new solution to curbside pickup. A kiosk. Make the pizza, drop it in the kiosk, then the customer walks up to it, opens the Kiosk and takes home their pizza. Nice, but to really work safely it needs to be installed so the customer may access it from outside the building.

Hmmm, I hope all restaurants can do this kind of thing – – that would be full coverage of their curbside and “hands-off” idea. But only (if) the restaurant workers are doing their part inside and out of the business. And I won’t go into great detail, but obviously we have to trust that a manufacture of any product or good is wearing gloves and masks, and following all the safety guidelines.

Ohh, that’s a thought — do we have new food-safety guidelines for restaurants? Are we, the consumer depending on each business that we order from to implement a system that is safe? Hmmm. Call your governor? Or perhaps, start an organization that puts together the rules and guidelines for operating a business during a pandemic. Too much? Think about it in small steps. What would you like to see, what do you need, and how can you fill that need.

To put things into context with this website, I have made my Film Festival an Online Venue, and I support the fest and filmmakers by streaming the winning films on my connected TV channels (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Android.) So you see, I’ve gone entirely virtual/digital in order to best service my audience and the filmmaker.

I hope that I’ve given you some optimistic thoughts and ideas here. I hope that I’ve brought you a little more hope. Blessing and Cheers to you!(c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
documentary Uncategorized

Beautiful Outer Space Programs on Roku and Fire TV

I’m a big fan of space-nerd programs. I’ve been publishing content from Space agencies like ESO and NASA for years. My “Aurora” short film is one of my most popular connected TV videos. And after thousands of downloads it’s still in high demand because not only is it just filled with gorgeous visuals — it’s also very mellow and relaxing.

Just recently, I decided to ramp up the variety of programs that feature outer space themes for two reasons. For one, the spirit moved me…I love the beauty of outer space, and TV shows about space exploration inspire and uplift me. And reason two, is because I want to share the inspiring, and very relaxing feeling that I get from watching this programming with you.

So, today I’m announcing that I’ve added a few more documentary style programs. We have “The Eyes on the Skies” a 60 minute movie described by Germany’s ESO (European Southern Observatory:) It “explores the many facets of the telescope — the historical development, the scientific importance, the technological breakthroughs, and also the people behind this ground-breaking invention, their triumphs, and failures…” The program is presented by Dr. Joe Liske. I don’t Joe, but I feel like I do because he’s a very personable host — and I’ve been watching his videos for years on my Roku channel called “Space.”

We are also streaming Europe to the Stars — ESO’s first 50 years of exploring the southern sky. Per ESO: “The [60 minute movie] consists “of eight chapters each focusing on an essential aspect of an observatory, while putting things in perspective and offering a broader view on how astronomy is made. From site testing and explaining the best conditions for observing the sky to how telescopes are built and what mysteries of the Universe astronomers are revealing…” Boy that’s allot of “techy” sounding stuff — but please don’t let that throw you. The movie is a nice watch.

Next is the 30 minute movie called MUSE, The Cosmic Time Machine. About the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer installed at ESO’s Very Large Telescope. What’s a spectro…explorer? Hey, I may be a sci-fi nerd, but I can’t tell you any better than them. Watch the film free and ad-free (of course) on my channels.

And lastly we have “In the Shadow of the Black Hole.” Wherein a
a picture of a black hole is taken by the Event Horizon Telescope. (Sounds like a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie ehh?) This recording proves Einsteins theory about black holes. The picture was accomplished via a planet-wide array of eight telescopes. The film is an international collaboration accredited as an ESO production.

If you’d like to see a nice introduction to the fine films that I am streaming, please watch the following…

Just to be as clear as the night sky…You may watch these films on my Roku and Fire TV channels for free, and ad-free. And there are numerous other Documentaries by Nasa and other agencies. Plus of course I feature many Star Trek shows and indie-made films for you to enjoy. Regarding the content I posted today — I should be clear that space agencies (like ESO and ESA) and directors like Lars Lindberg Christensen deserve credit for making these films a reality. Please add my channels and donate to my patreon campaign if you like to see more in the future. – (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
Mr ED - TV show Mr Ed, TV show TV show reviews tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity

Mr Ed streams on Roku for free

I’ve found three rare Mr. Ed television sitcoms, and two are currently streaming. One episode is a hilarious story about a Cat and a beneficiary. The other is a very RARE PILOT & PITCH that is a must see for fans of the show, as well as anyone who is interested in how shows were pitched, produced and sponsored by Ad Agencies and Advertisers like the manufacture of the LARK automobile. The Lark? Seriously?

Okay so as it turns out, it’s not a “lark.” Studebaker was making cars back in the late 50’s to early 60’s and this one was being sold as the main promotional ‘vehicle’ for an up and coming series.

The tentative series was called “The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope” and this episode (the pilot) is called Wilbur Pope and Mister Ed. And it stars two actors who were cast specifically for the Pilot – but not the series. That’s interesting, ehh? I didn’t think it worked like that. Scott McKay played (Wilbur Pope.)

And his wife (Carlotta) was played by Sandra White. Both were replaced within this video. Ed stayed. (Wink wink.) Sound confusing? Well, I was certainly surprised. Let me run down how the video plays out so that you may better understand.

First we start with an advertising pitch-man. He’s a boring looking character, tooled up with a pointer, chalk-board graphics and well placed, but verbatim dialog. Did you know that the average household watches 3.5 hours of TV a night? Groovy. Okay, so then we move on to the show, and it runs a good half hour. But immediately afterwards we have a new spokesperson…

That’s George Burns. He talks about how Sitcoms typically fail because they have nothing to write-about after six episodes or so, but this series will be the exception because of “Ed.” And then he proceeds to tell us about how the new actors for this series are funny, experienced and importantly the lead man is a “clean cut fine looking young man who will make a great salesman for your product.” Then the new actor is introduced, and he’s darn funny. This is the new Wilbur, Wilbur Post played by Alan Young.

Young talks about how George Burns will be overseeing the writing on the show. Then he proceeds by delivering an example performance, and then he really shines when he plays next to his new wife “Carol” Carol Post, played by Connie Hines. And I have to say I really enjoyed the way they played out a ‘sample’ scene. It was very convincing and the two demonstrated nice chemistry. This is the beautiful Connie Hines…

The cool “sales pilot” and other classic shows like Petticoat Junction and Fireball XL5 are available on my Roku channels, free & adfree. Oh bye the way, I noticed something of a mystery. Within the pilot — they never gave away the name of Mr. Ed’s voice-actor. Interesting, maybe that’s part of the charm. Watch the two episodes now, and stay tuned for a third,* VERY RARE episode in which Wilbur sells United State Savings Bonds.

*ADDENDUM 4/20/2020 – the episode “Wilbur gets the Message” is now on all of our Roku and Fire TV channels. While it does have a few funny moments, it does require a little patience. You may be asking “since when does a sitcom require patience?” The answer is because it’s basically a special program designed to sell Bonds and inform folks about the virtue of “Payroll Savings.” It was produced on behalf of the US treasury. On the plus size we have our favorites — Alan Young (Wilbur), and Connie Hines (Carol), Mr Ed – the “Horse of course,” ‘PLUS’ the character-comedian George O’Hanlon – from The Jetsons. (c) Dean Lachiusa

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free streaming tv Picard-Discovery-Firefly-And-Others Sci-Fi shows star trek TV show reviews Uncategorized

Star Trek ‘continues’ with series on Roku

For many Star Trek lovers, the “Discovery” of Star Trek on Roku and other Connected TV devices is not entirely new. And for readers of this blog, you may already know what I think about the Star Trek Discovery series per my article last year. But this year, we have a new show to watch, and it features Patrick Stewart and other iconic actors from Star Trek’s Next Generation show.

I enjoyed the premiere episode, which (was) free on Youtube, and I am tempted to sign up for the entire series. Tempted, but not enough to pay them for it. Note: The following video is a SPOILER!

I did try to subscribe to CBS All-Access with what was advertised as the CBS “gift” code, but after giving CBS my name, email, DOB, and my first male child, the interface did not work, I didn’t get my free month — maybe the code expired, but it was only a week old. So I’m back to weighing the benefits of paying for CBS.

Based on my feelings for Discovery, and based on the things I’ve read about Picard on Facebook, I’ll have to pass. Why pay for it when CBS has operated as a Ad-Supported network for years, and now they expect me to change my viewing habits just for a few new shows – sorry, not enough.

I already pay for Hulu and others. I really wish CBS would reconsider their entire “all access” formula. Let’s talk about something a little more positive. Have you watched Star Trek Continues, Star Trek New Voyages, or the new shows from Tim Russ (of Star Trek Voyager) and his Atomic network? Here’s a full episode of Atomic’s “Renegades.”

I like Renegades, but I prefer the new Trek based series that they are working on. I’ll post episodes as soon as they are made public. I hope that they release the Atomic programs for free and ad-free because it’s the only way I operate. My Roku channels are noncommercial.

And I do this because I love the craft of filmmaking, and I enjoy supporting filmmakers, especially those who make programs out of pure passion for their subject matter. (You can help me support indie film here.)

And that folks is why you’ll find I write often on the subject of fan-made films. And it’s also why I showcase short films on my Free Film Festival and Free Roku Channels.

This is also why I stream great programs like “The Verse” — a Firefly short that just begs to be developed into a series. If only we fans could convince the owners of the franchise to allow fans to produce more noncommercial content. You may watch The Verse on my Roku channels, and of course it is free and advertising free like all my programming.

I’ll talk more about fan films and the regulations later in a adjunct article. This is an enormous area of controversy that I cannot discuss without going into details. But, I will say that for years, the makers of Continues and New Voyages were allowed to produce Trek programming as an homage, as long as the shows were never commercialized/monetized.

And the producers of those shows, along with the Farragut producers did respect the network’s rules that were set forth in “guidelines.” (PS: Farragut is a long-running series of fanfilms that do not get rated very positively on Youtube, so I don’t have a sample for you here.) BUT, I do stream (2) Starship Farragut animated episodes on my Roku Channels.

Something happened a few years ago. Another guy decided to make a Trek fan film, but not with fans. Instead, he hired professional crew and talent, and then he raised money — allot of money with the intention of releasing a professional (perhaps commercially viable) film. He threw it right in the Network’s face on Kickstarter and social media. In the end, according to reports – he openly defied CBS and Paramount in court. To make a long story short, now would be fan-film makers have new “fanfilm guidelines” that really put the “AXE” on how a fan made film can be produced. The films must be 15 minutes…The story-lines and characters may not be continued for more than (2) episodes, etc.

The actions of the “Axe” have effected every producer of Trek films, and I think that in turn may set the course for other franchises. And I stream them all – from Croft to Alien (see my free/adfree Android “Fan Films” app.) So, what I’m getting at here is that one selfish action may just be the thing that is effecting how the new owner, Disney handles requests to do Firefly/Serenity fanfilms. Like I say, there’s more details and I’ll do an entire article on this in the future. For now, I’ll leave you with a look at “The Verse.” — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
free streaming tv tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity Uncategorized

Leave it to Beaver, pilot streams on Roku & Fire TV

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a real rarity, the Pilot episode for the original Leave it to Beaver program. It was a simple morality play, and I’ll give you a clue about the story.

Note, this sentence is sort-of a SPOILER: The boys get tricked into “earning” a gift for themselves, but then they end up returning the item, and then they get rewarded for being “good boys.

Here’s what IMDB says: And yes, this really is a SPOILER ALERT! “Sneaky Frankie Bennett tells Beaver that he can win a new bicycle by entering a popular television show’s Franklin Milk bottle cap contest; but Beaver and big brother, Wally, cause quite a commotion at the milk company’s office when no one there seems to know anything about a contest after the boys show up to claim their prize pulling a wagon loaded with a thousand bottle caps.”

Gee, it’s a swell story. Seriously, it’s cute and a nice way to remind yourself that there was indeed a day when life seemed simpler than today. I also found that watching this Pilot episode gave me the opportunity to play TV-Studio-Exec. Why did the network choose these actors, and why were some of them replaced?

Before Wally, there was Paul Sullivan. A clunky looking kid who is much taller than “the Beav.” His performance was believable enough, but he did not return in the series. Why? The scuttlebug is that Sullivan grew too much. He was too big to play Wally’s role. Okay, it happens.

Then we have Casey Adams who later in his career used the name Max Showalter. He seemed like a nice enough dad. His performance seemed convincing. He does have a nice satirical look about him. Maybe that’s why he didn’t return.

It’s hard to be objective when critiquing these actors. After all, the entire series was played by a guy who had obvious chemistry with June Cleaver for so many episodes. Yes, I’m talking about Ward Cleaver played by Hugh Beaumont…

And the beloved Barbara Billingsley is June Cleaver. Bye the way, did you ever think about their last name? Cleaver. I can hardly imagine an angel like “June” swinging a cleaver. Let’s move on 😉

What about Eddie (the hassler) Haskell? He’s not in the pilot – at least not by name. The kid that originally convinced the Beav to do what he does is Harry Shearer (Saturday Night Live.) He’s a Eddie Haskell type of smart-aleck. I think it’s safe to say that this character is developed later as the Eddie character.

The pilot can be seen in it’s entirety on TV.

The Cleavers (as seen in the rest of the series.)

I love that photo! Here’s what Jerry Mathers “the Beav” has to say about the Pilot’s name, the characters, cinematography, and how the show became a series in nearly 100 languages and countries. Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/35EMVyAntAg

Don’t forget to add my channels to watch the Pilot and other pilots like MR. ED! And meanwhile, I’d like to remind you that I depend on the support of folks like you. I have a Patreon page for my fund raising, please take a moment to lend your support of $1 or more. — (c) Dean Lachiusa

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cord cutters cord cutting free streaming tv Uncategorized

Cord Cutting 101, how to save money on your TV bill

Cord Cutting 101, the how-to guide to free TV and alternatives to expensive Cable TV bills…

Have you heard about “Cord Cutters” and how they are saving hundreds? (Yes, cord cutters save $200 or more a month!) This article covers numerous ways to save money on TV.

Two years ago I was paying Comcast over 300 dollars a month for my Cable TV, Internet, and digital (landline) Phone. Before Comcast I tried AT&T, and the cost was about the same. And both companies enjoy a monopoly of-sorts, so they were constantly charging more for their services. And I really hated the way that these big co’s treated me. I mean, I wanted to watch NBA, and in order to do so, I had to buy a freak’n “bundle.” And the bundles offer all kinds of extra programming that I paid for – but didn’t want. You’ve probably gone through the same torment, so I’ll end my complaint session here. Moving on…

A BRIEF SATELLITE STORY…
Last year, I switched to Dish and I saved a ton of money. They didn’t push me to upgrade to bundles, and they allowed me to downgrade to an el-cheapo service of 40 bucks a month. But still, I felt that I was paying for local-tv programming that is offered free through my antenna.

Later, I downgraded my Dish to a “pause” plan. This cost me $5 month, and it allowed me to keep my Dish SAT while I tested the alternative – local TV channels delivered via OTA (over-the-air) antenna. So far, I’ve experienced mixed results. When it rains or the wind blows — so does the local TV.

In Metro Detroit, DISH has a introductory plan that cost about 30 dollars, and it has local channels plus TBS, Motor Trend TV, and many more…This was my latest adjustment to my Dish plan. It saves me allot of money, and I get reliable Local News, as well as LINK TV and International news from China. A nice plus is Dish’s “studio” channel where they feature films from some of their add-on channels, like MGM. You might want to ask if they offer it in your area.

Not very often, on a very Stormy day, my Dish may go out temporarily. And on the rare occasion when I use my alternate — an over-the-air Antenna (you may recall the old rabbit ears) the programming is good. However a breezy day will bring poor reception. Bad reception over an antenna is usually very bad – meaning…the picture on my TV is either totally black or displaying a bunch of square-pixels accompanied by the audio cutting out. That’s when I switch on my Roku or Fire TV.

If you like what you’re reading…you’re a “Cord Cutter” and you might like my line of cord cutting swag, from pillows to mugs – click the pic below to get your own 🙂

A LOOK AT OTT, CTV, AKA “SET TOP BOXES”…
Set Top Boxes like Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV all function the same way — you must have an Internet connection, 4mbps or better to use these devices to watch movies and Shows on your Television. (My current company says my Internet speed is 25mbps or so – and although that is not a consistent speed, it is perfectly fast enough.)

Using your Set Top Box (or “stick”.) You need to plug in the unit into your HDMI port or your composite (RCA) jacks on your TV. Just look for the “in” ports, it’s pretty standard on most TV’s, “Input” RCA jacks are Yellow for Video, and Red for Right-Audio, White for Left-Audio. Then plug in the power on the unit, turn on the TV, select the “source” aka “input” for the signal you’d like to watch. (In other words, this set-top-box “source” is an alternative to just turning the TV on and watching via an antenna or cable/sat TV.)

Next you should see that your Roku/Fire/AppleTV is asking you to connect to an Internet Signal. I’m sure your Internet Provider set you up with a WiFi Router. You’ll need the name of it, and it’s password. Type that into the prompts on your TV, and it will eventually connect you. Now click on the “home” button for your Roku or whatever — and you see they’ve automatically loaded a few starter channels. Yay! Your ready to watch.

USING THE INTERNET TO WATCH TV IN STANDARD DEFINITION…
As a side-note, on my second-TV, I adjusted my Roku’s display settings to Standard Definition, 16×9 Wide-Screen. This saves data-use aka “Internet Bandwidth.” My Fire TV doesn’t have the same settings, because I have a Fire TV “stick” which plugs in via the HDMI port on my TV, offering a HD display of 720 or better. Therefore, when I want to save bandwidth, I instead use my Roku because I can use the composite plugs and a SD setting.

Why save bandwidth? Because my Internet Provider allows me 1TB of data use per month. And, because I operate a Film Festival, and CTV channels, I often find myself downloading large movie files, converting them to the proper streaming format (mp4) and then re-uploading these files, which demands a large amount of Internet data. So for me, 1TB is nice, but it is easy to use up in one month.

You might appreciate another reason why I sometimes watch Roku-TV in SD mode. For one, usually the picture clarity is fine. When I watch programming on my own channels (Movies PlusArt House MoviesFilm Fest Best) — or Sony’s Crackle, or competitors like Netflix, I get a clean looking picture. And when a movie is offered in UHD, and then displayed in SD, typically I do not recognize much difference in image quality when I watch in SD mode. (Now, if I were to place a TV with an HD image right next to it, then of course I’d see the difference – but that doesn’t happen.)

Thirdly, I set up my “second-TV” in SD-wide display mode because when/if someone in my house watches a streaming-TV-program, they just might forget to turn it off. And that means that the Netflix or whatever they are watching will automatically play through the night…resulting in my bandwidth getting used up, and then I end up paying the Internet Company a penalty fee for overuse.

TV-APPS AKA SETBOX-TV CHANNELS…
Ok, moving on. Let’s say you have a Roku or another box that you’ve paid 25 dollars or more for. (The only cost for a Roku/Fire is the one-time purchase fee.) Additional fees apply to Netflix, Hulu subscriptions, if you opt for their programming — but really, you don’t have to. Great channels (aka TV-Apps) include Pluto, Crackle, Movies Plus (of course,) ABC, Petticoat JunctionTMN (The Movie Network) and many others like CW Seed.

Netflix is an App. It also is considered a channel on Roku. I subscribe to it. And I love my Netflix at about 8 dollars a month for the non-UHD reception. I get some great shows like LOST IN SPACE and LILLYHAMMER and quality feature films. BUT – I do not get my local programming. No local news, no Nightly News unless I want to watch the previous days programming.

Hulu is similar to Netflix. I pay about 6 bucks every month with advertising. Great programming like Dirk Gently, Quickdraw, and Misfits is here. But again, there is no live-local programming like Detroit area news, etc.

So, the dilemma is if I’ve fired my Cable TV company then: How do you get LIVE, LOCAL TV broadcasts in RELIABLE QUALITY without spending too much money?

Some services like Sling offer paid packages that deliver content to Roku and FireTV for about $40 monthly. This might be the way to get a few local LIVE channels, plus some other networks like Starz.

You’ll be hard pressed to find an economical package that offers NBC, ABC, and CBS. You may be thinking…I’m trying to save money — that’s why I “cut the cord!” So what is the solution?

The answer might be Digital Re-Broadcast. For example, a temporary solution could be services (like) “Locast.” I found this on my Roku. It works in just a few towns like NYC and San Francisco. They’re not in Detroit yet. My bro uses it in NYC and he is very happy because his digital antenna is about as reliable as mine is. From what I can see, the App is free, and it appears to be legal (appears!) After some research I found out that Locast just might be pushing the boundaries of what they are allowed to do.

Both Aereo, and FilmOn lost their argument to rebroadcast local channels, and I think that although Locast is non-profit, they might be pushed to shut down operations. I recently found an article that said they were being sued, and I’m not surprised.

If re-broadcasters like Locast actually license local rebroadcasting rights, then we might see TV-APPS that work in more towns like Detroit. I also tried “Stirr” because its description on the Roku channel promised Local programming, but I have yet to see any local Metro Detroit channels, and certainly not local news or “network” channels. So again, the free services that promise you access to local network channels are usually “re-broadcasters” and likely a bunch of horse-hockey. They usually operate until a complaint is made, and the FCC brings them down. Read more below…

What you should know about services that offer digital re-broadcast via Roku, Fire, and Android…
Most of these services are designed for our troops abroad. That is, like the AFN (American Forces Network.) Some rebroadcasters have agreements that allow them to re-broadcast HBO, STARS, and other networks to foreign countries. These re-broadcast services are not licensed (or intended) for use in the USA. Have people found a way to use these APPS in the USA? Yes, but I won’t say how because firstly it’s illegal, and secondly you cannot depend on the service when you use it outside of the way it is intended.

PS: Kodi is one of the biggest to offer rebroadcasting. When it functions as a digital rebroadcaster, it is what I consider to be the pirates haven – and being a filmmaker (and a righteous-dude) I absolutely hate this service — but that’s just me living in a world of thieves and catch-me-if-you-can thinkers. (Waaaaaa – cry baby!)

Moving on….Antennas!
What a cluster-frak. You can shop all day long, but I have to say that I’ve used Amplified and non-amplified antennas (like the old rabbit ears.) And neither one really works great in my house in Metro Detroit. We have about 20 great channels too, ranging from NBC 4 to 4-2 and “4-dash-3.” Sounds confusing? It isn’t really. The channels are set up just like they were in the analog broadcasting days, accept that channels like Channel 4 now has “multicast” channels like Heroes and Icons (H&I) on their 4-2 channel. Don’t worry, you don’t have to find these manually, and you really don’t have to understand how multicasting or “subchannels” work in your town.

If you have a TV set with a Digital Tuner, then simply plug in an Antenna into the “Antenna In” coaxial port of your TV. Then go into your TV’s settings and use the Channel set up options to “auto tune” your OTA (Antenna.) It might take a few minutes, but your TV should find a few channels. And most new TV’s have a “skip” option that allows you to weed out the channels that you don’t want to watch.

Before you buy an antenna, you might consider a homemade solution. I know of two designs, and one that I currently use. Before we start on this – please take note: A coaxial port can be damaged – so don’t just jam any old metal thing into it…Okay, that being said, let’s examine a couple do it yourself indoor antennas…

ANTENNA DIY…
1.) I read about a guy who says to use a PaperClip — I would guess that the (big) business grade clip could work. He took a clip, and straightened out one end, then he gently pushed it into his TV’s “antenna in” jack. Done, with limited channel reception of course. But hey, don’t quote me, and don’t blame me if you decide to test your TV with a PaperClip or a wire.

2.) A coaxial cable. After buying both a Amplified Antenna, and a Rabbit Ear antenna, I decided to use a DIY antenna made out of an old cable-tv-cable. One end screws into the port “it’s the coaxial jack” of your TV, and the other end needs to be prepared like in the following tutorial….

3.) Proceed at your own risk…
Carefully, snip ONE end of the cable off. Then carefully…carefully (so you don’t cut yourself) skin the protective rubber housing off of the cable. You need to do this slowly so that you DO NOT cut into the copper wire on the inside. (Pardon me for being redundant.)
Now, without cutting the inside lining…shear anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of the housing off, but like I say do it carefully and don’t cut all the way through because you’re just trimming off the protective rubber exterior. You may throw this rubber piece away.

C) Now you’ll see the lining, it’s a mesh — a wire mesh. This easily pulls back. It’s like putting on a condom (don’t get mad – this is the best analogy I can offer.) When I made my antenna, I didn’t have to cut the mesh. You should also be able to simply pull it back upon the cable, and then tape it up. Use a good tape like black electrical tape. Okay? Tape up that mesh that you pulled back.

D) Now you’ll see a plastic piece that protects the inner copper wire. If you have a good wire cutter then carefully…carefully slice this housing (WITHOUT CUTTING THROUGH THE WIRE INSIDE.) Now pull off that plastic housing.

E.) The copper wire is revealed. This is your antenna. Place it AWAY from a wall, as close to a window as you can get. And of course don’t place it near any open wires, metal, or a where a child can poke himself or a power-socket. Don’t use it outside – you don’t want this thing to become a lightning rod.

F.) Reminder – the end of the cable with the Coaxle plug goes into your TV 🙂

I get about 30 channels with my DIY antenna, but like I say it’s not a perfect solution because the weather conditions greatly affect the picture and audio quality.

My ultimate solution…
I’ve opted to use two main solutions, and one backup. I have the el-cheapo “SAT” plan for 28 bucks a month — this provides my local network news, TBN, Motor Trend, etc. I secondly have Internet bundled with digital phone. I use my Internet to connect my Roku and Fire TV devices, and on these devices I have the cheapest Hulu plan, coupled with many free TV-APPS that run on my Roku/Fire. My backup is my homemade “DIY” Antenna, which I rarely use.

Did you find this article helpful? Then please visit our Patreon campaign, it’s a very inexpensive way of saying “Thank You.” https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa


Categories
film budget, finance, distribution independent filmmaking Online Film Festivals

Indie Filmmaking – Distribution 101, your best bet to insure The Calvary is Coming!

Recently I read an article werein several successful filmmakers answered questions poised by an independent filmmaker. We’ll call the indie “Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream.” Along with my interjections, below is an excerpt from the “Shooting People” website.

Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: “I am searching for a way to make exploitation movies with loads of action, gore, fun & excitement that people can watch over a beer (the way that the Sy-Fi channel make countless “Shark” exploitation movies).
And I’d make them cheap, for £5,000 ($8,000). I have all the equipment so no need to rent lights, cameras, etc.”

A response from Film Composer, Kays Alatrakchi: [On Imdb, Kay has an enormous list of films since 1992. This guy knows his business.]
Get to the back of the huge line? Because what the world really needs right now is more shit films!

Several friends of mine work for The Asylum (if you have no idea who they are…google them). I’ve also had the misfortune to work on a couple of their films, mostly because one of those aforementioned friends talked me into it. The Asylum does follow a Roger Corman type of model in the sense that they pre-sell everything. They have been around for long enough that they have strong relationships established with distros all over the world. What they literally do is custom-create their films to fit whatever markets they’re trying to pre-sell…hence the shit that they turn out because Germany wants a tornado/disaster film, and shark films are really huge in Japan right now.

Their films are typically budgeted in the $250K range, even so; most of the budget goes for them to get the have-been F-list actors that (once again) the distributors require to close the pre-sale. The Asylum generates good earnings as it’s been reported in a number of industry trade rags. On a movie where they invest $250k, they typically have made $750k without breaking a sweat.

But they have a system, and they have an established distributor network. They have enough muscle to be able to negotiate lucrative deals. They also can pickup the phone and speak directly with SyFy Channel’s program director and work out inside deals for exclusives etc. Did I mention that they also have an in-house CGI dept, sound design/foley/mixer, green screen and shooting stage, and a music composer who does great work because he knows that he will make money through cable airings and so he’s willing to work for peanuts up-front. They pay their crew about $100-200/day on their shoots which are typically in the 7-10day range for a feature.

The point that I’m trying to make is that The Asylum is not making films for $10k, they are very business savvy and have the type of workflow and connections that you don’t have. To look at them as an “example” of how to make movies that make money, without looking at the rest of their picture is to set yourself up for failure.

A response from Documentary filmmaker, M. Rossato-Bennett: [This filmmaker does not have a long filmmaking career, but his documentary is rated 8.2 on Imdb, and I think that means that he’s done something right and is worthy of listening to.] I would like to submit that there is another way- What the world needs is not more distraction- think about it, if someone wants to be distracted your film is now competing with virtually every other film ever made! It used to be there were just a few films playing in your town any given week. That is real competition!

So I made a doc that I cared about because I wanted to change the world. I knew there was an audience, I knew I could help a million people. I never expected to get accepted to Sundance, as a matter of fact I almost did not apply.
…Why not change the world rather than try to recreate what has been done? I think everyone is always following dead dreams- after Picasso there was a huge generation of want to be painters. After Lucas there was a huge generation of want to be Spielbergs. If you want to make money make a low budget VR movie! Look to the future not the past for inspiration!

Here is my truth- Emotion is everything- Make a film that makes people feel deeply and it will find an audience. People need to feel. Distracting entertainment is so overdone I would not want to compete there.

Response from Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: (…I’d like to clarify that I don’t intend to re-work or make a ‘Corman’ type film, but make a film in the same ‘business’ style as him. Making it dirt cheap, shoot for a few days (Little Shop Of Horrors was shot in just two days), mainly one or two takes max and move on…)

Another response from Kays Alatrakchi: Nothing good can come out of that type of filmmaking. Good films take time, talent, resources, and a great screenplay. If that’s what you’re setting out as your goal, I think you’re doomed from the start.

My take: I think that both Kays’ and Bennet make valid points. While back in film school (circa 1997) I did think that what Michael proposed would be a good idea. Because genre films were selling to territories across the globe. But that was when low budget films were being produced on 16mm or the new Sony and Canon DV cameras. It was an era before the over-saturation of low budget Genre films.

Nowadays you can shoot your low budget zombie film on a cell phone. And you likely will get an offer for distribution. But you likely will not make any money. Rather, it will cost you money. Here’s what typically is happening in the distribution landscape. Because there’s just too much low budget product out there, and you want to get your film seen, then you likely will end up paying your “distributor.”

You’ll pay them to prepare art. Yes, I know you have your own art, but they could insist on using their studio artist, and this is not cheap. (let’s call it $1,500. to start.) See the list of delivery assets in order to help you to avoid or minimize this charge.

Then, you’ll likely pay them to prepare your content for delivery. This is another area that hits filmmakers in the pocketbook. Even if you mastered in MOV or Pro-Res, they’ll want to check the film for formatting errors, and that’s just to start the process. In order to eliminate charges to you, keep in mind that a distributor will likely suggest all or some of the following assets for a digital release (we’re not talking about DVD, etc…)

  • Video should be at native frame-rate.
  • Video should be at native dimensions (aspect ratio.)
  • Do not convert from PAL to NTSC.
  • Do not upscale SD to HD.
  • ProRes 422/HQ (preferred) or DNxHD.
  • Nothing before/after the video except at most 1 second of black (no slates,color bars, counters, etc.)
  • Audio embedded, stereo OR 8ch with mono tracks and usually stereo on tracks 7, 8.
    • TRAILERS…
    • A trailer or preview clip is required. If a trailer is not available, A distributor may charge you to create an official trailer for (about $400 and up) — or pull a preview clip for $50 or so, in the same format as the feature file provided.
    • Trailers or clips should be 30 – 90 secs.
    • Must be Green band “appropriate for all audiences.”
    • No references to the physical format or bonus features.
    • No URL’s of any kind and no call to action tags (e.g., “Coming Soon” or “Available Now.”)
  • OTHER DELIVERY ASSETS…
  • Closed Captions are usually required. If you have CCs already then they might want a .SCC file.
  • If you do not provide closed captions, they have charges for this service – typically costing $1 per minute (based on run time).
  • You’ll likely be asked to name the files that you submit using a UPC, title, and the type of asset (feature, trailer,captions). 
  • ARTWORK: Key/Cover art: Usually 1920 x 1080.
  • Key/Cover art: 1200 x 1600 (3:4 aspect ratio.)
  • Key/Cover art: Layer intact PSD (Photoshop) of hi-res or 3:4 art.
  • Stills: 3-5 stills from the main feature. Native resolution, ask if they prefer a JPG or other format.
  • Also optionally you can provide a 1920 x 1080 “background image” (“to convey the mood of your content.”)

Regarding formatting errors, let’s say that you shot in 29.9FPS, but during the editing process, you placed a clip in your film and it runs at 24FPS. This can create streaming problems. Video playback can studder or freeze intermittently if the video was made with a mixture of clips that have different frames per second.

Yes, this is true even if you’re exporting to a 29fps because every brand of editing software, from AVID to Premiere has difficulty creating frames when they are missing. Back in the days of 16mm filmmaking, we ran into this kind of problem when transferring film to the AVID digital systems. It was called 3:2 Pulldown back then — and you don’t want to mess around with this. So don’t transfer from PAL to NTSC, and try not to mix clips from sources that are not native to your editing project’s settings.

So, this is why distributors check your film for formatting issues, and why it could cost another $5,000 or more for “delivery.” In the end, you might just get your movie placed on Hulu. And when your film doesn’t get watched by enough viewers in the first week or so, HULU will drop it from their catalog.

You may be wondering why a Distributor does business this way. Well, think about their mode of operation. They have a large catalog, with some “A-List” titles that add clout when the distributor negotiates with platforms like Netflix. 

Do the distributors “A-List” titles go through the same nightmare I described previously? Heck no, these titles have legs, and bankable-talent. So no, let’s get back to you, the low budget indie filmmaker. 

You’re there to fill space in the Distributors catalog, and you’ve been chosen because you need to get your film seen, and you’re willing to pay to play.

Before you lose all hope, please read on…this is NOT ALL BLEAK!

If you think you’ll make money from sharing ad-revenue. Ohhhhh, my filmmaking brother, I wish it were true. Google it…You won’t find any success stories. And the reason is in one word. Subdistribution. If you manage to land a distributor who does NOT require payment for their services, then you have be weary of the tricks of the online distribution system.

Here’s a typical scenario. A Distributor promises you 50% of the Rental or Ad-revenue. But, they don’t actually have a direct deal with the platorm (VUDO/HULU/NETFLIX.) No, they typically allow another “distributor” to make that deal, and in exchange that distributor gets…50%. Okay. So now you’re getting 50% of 50%. See what I’m getting at?

Let’s say you do manage to get a reputable distributor. One that really has a direct relationship to a streaming platform. I’m sorry if this sounds so bleak, but now imagine trying to get paid your $75 ad-rev royalty. They don’t want to issue a check because you haven’t reached the tier required. If you manage to get $200 in a payment period, then maybe they’ll send you the money if you haven’t accrued any other weird fees like data charges for uploading your film to their server. And that’s if you can rely on them to pay you.

In some regards, you have to understand their position. Imagine, dolling out $25 checks to hundreds of filmmakers every month, that’s something that is timely and costly. Bookkeeping is of course is the oldest, most common complaint in regards to Distributors.

You could produce a film that’s easier on the eyes. Something that doesn’t depend on the Genre. Something with Marquee value. What’s Marquee Value? It’s that little thing that talks to the potential film-watcher. It says “Oh that might be a good movie, it has that guy from Alien in it.”

That’s Lance Henriksen, and no I don’t know him and I’m not endorsing him – but you get the idea. What talent like this costs you will return you many times in Marquee Value.

Okay, so what’s the take-home or main-thrust of this article? Here’s ann alternative that costs the price of a large Latte. If (IF) your movie is good enough — OR HAS MARQUEE VALUE — then Roku and Fire TV channels like mine will stream it. I cannot endorse the slew of Roku and Fire TV channels out there, but I can tell you that mine have been popular for 6 years now, and I think it’s a nice way to go. You’ll have to submit your film to me via my film festival (a measly 5 dollars) but in the end, if it’s good enough I can get you about 50,000 views on my connected TV channels.

Note that my TV channels have over 1 million subscribers…but the actual viewers are less, so I won’t Blow-Smoke.

But hey, 50,000 viewers is pretty darn good, and imagine if you put your point-of-sale on your film, film-art, and logline? Have you imagined? Well, think about setting up your website for donations, T-Shirt and Coffee-Mug, and DVD sales. And then when people from my channels visit your website, you could actually make a buck, ehhh?

Additionally…if your film isn’t quite ready for prime-time, then you may stream it on my Android App or Youtube channel. No matter where you are in your “release window” check out https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards to take advantage of all my almost free ($5) Streaming Opportunities. — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
film budget, finance, distribution Film Festivals Free Film Festivals Online Film Festivals Uncategorized

The Lift-off Rip-off Festival

I recently entered a Film Festival known as the “Lift Off Sessions.” This is part of a series of film festivals hosted by the Lift-off network of international festivals. I was very happy to get the notice that my webisode, Lights Camera Aliens – was accepted, Yay!

Here comes the “but.” It’s always an ego boost when my films get accepted by a Festival. Because Film Festivals are subject to the judges taste, and sometimes your film just isn’t a good fit for the theme or the agenda of a particular Fest.

For example, in 2019 I entered the London Lift-Off Festival (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE “SESSIONS” FESTIVAL REVIEWED BELOW!) The London Lift-Off Festival is a very important Fest to me because they are associated with the infamous Pinewood Studios in London, and when a filmmaker gets selected to this Festival, it means that industry leaders (distributors, PACT producers, etc) will see your film.

Mine was not selected in 2019. Why? Well, I screwed up. I entered a 37 minute Pilot into their “Web Series” category. My content was too long. If it’s one thing I’ve learned: When you enter a Film Festival, make sure your submission is an exact fit. Don’t enter into a category with the idea that the judges will understand if your film doesn’t exactly match what their category guidelines are. Additionally, do not assume that the Fest judges will invest time into imagining how to best make your film submission fit into their Festival.

Here’s a brief look at what I submitted. (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/g1nHI4VuGHo)

Secondly, agenda. Some Film Festivals are geared towards Hollywood content. You know, the film that has a Marquee value talents of an A or B list talent — the “bankable” film.

And then, there’s so many other Fests that are geared towards the indie filmmaker – the low budget production with storytelling that ends the film on something less than the “happy ending” that we tend to see in big budget Studio Films.

Independent Film Fests have a wide range of agendas and mode of operation, and it really takes allot of time to find the right “fit” for an indie-made film.

Okay, so onto my review of the Lift-Off SESSIONS. Firstly, it was not a live event — it was an online festival. Movies like mine where placed on Vimeo by the Fest, and then largely we the filmmakers voted on each one of the films. Lift-Off suggested that we contact our friends and cohorts and ask them to vote, and the Fest provided a link for use on Facebook, Twitter, etc. That was the first round.

As the Fest progressed to another round, it became quite evident that the filmmakers would have to leverage social networking in order to entice more people to watch their movies. Trouble is, there was a 14-Euro (about 20 bucks US) fee required to watch the Lift-Off Fest’s online movies.

Well, that folks is what we call a PAY TO PLAY scheme.

And while I may sound a bit harsh here, I have to say that I feel that this is a horrible way to conduct a Festival. There’s just NO WAY TO GET AN OBJECTIVE VOTING PROCESS when a Fest is conducted the way Lift-Off Sessions worked.

But don’t let me sway you entirely. Below are a few reviews that are only available to participating filmmakers. (That’s right, the Lift-Off Sessions reviews are NOT ON PUBLIC DISPLAY.) Now, because I participated, I am able to copy and paste some of the reviews here for you to read…

A review by participant, Naima Duyser
“Grossly disappointing festival. If, like me, this is your first time submitting, then do not bother with this festival. They are only trying to squeeze money out of the public.

First of, they mention that the public will determine the first round of votes. What they fail to mention, is that in order to vote, one has to pay FOURTEEN euros and 20 cents. Your film will be one of a hundred films clumsily thrown together in a vimeo-on-demand page. This means that the votes are pretty much a popularity contest. Whoever has friends and family willing to pay that amount for one single vote will be the one who’s film goes into the second round, regardless of whether it is a good film or not. I’m guessing the reason they choose over a hundred films to enter the first round is so they increase their chances of making money. What I find particularly disturbing is the fact that they are making money off YOUR films, without giving a cent back to the people who deserve it.

They also mention that after the first round, “a team of judges” will judge your film based on several aspects and go in deeper to evaluate your film. What one might think this means is that after making it into the top five, you will get a detailed, more personalized report, or some type of commentary from the judges in which you can use to further develop your film. No. After a week of raising awareness to the festival, inviting friends and family to pay to give your film a vote, and then getting into the top five, you would expect better treatment from this festival.

Even the winners are not ranked, just again, thrown in a final, clumsy, long list that makes you feel irrelevant and like you wasted your time. What a grossly disappointing waste of time and what an even more disrespectful panel of judges.

Also disgusting that the event has disabled public reviews. Am utterly ashamed in myself in taking part in such a horrible event.”

A review by participant, Evrim Karadağ. “I was proud to be a part of this festival but your system is just not working. I am from Turkey and lets say I made a film with the best idea possible. In The Lift Off Sessions, I have to compete with 100×5 other films from many other countries. What is even more not working was the voting system. You probably have no idea the meaning of some 15.50 dollars in other countries with brightest ideas and worthless currency. Still, thank you all for trying. #supportindiefilm.”

A review by participant, Jonathan Nolan. “Well intentioned, but the voting system makes the whole thing a farce. Not that I expected to “win”, but the voting system is 1990s tier and frankly, embarrassing. This festival conglomerate presents itself as a big operation of a high standard, this festival indicates otherwise.

As for not allowing public reviews on FilmFreeway, that makes me go “hm.” as well.”

The end? Okay, maybe not quite.

I do (somewhat) agree with Jonathan about the technical operation of the Fest because, it was clunky. However, as a developer of SDK’s on the Android, Fire TV, and Roku platforms, I can tell you that software engineering is costly. Therefore, as much as I did think the Lift-Off Fest was a technical cluster-frak, I have to give them a pass on this because their submission fees would have to reflect the cost of upgrading their technical operations — and, we (the filmmakers who submitted to the Fest) didn’t pay for anything uber-technical.

Secondly I do obviously agree with the all the reviewers regarding the fact that Fest reviews are not being released to the public. And the cost to watch the movies was akin to a PAY TO PLAY scenario. Uggh! Oh well, noone ever said indie filmmaking was easy. And the post-filmmaking journey, from the Film Festival Circuit to finding a Distributor is just as challenging as the process of making a film.

Bye the way, my web series may be sampled free on my TV channels.

See the Apps on the TV-APPS link to watch the sample and upcoming episodes of “Lights Camera Aliens.”

— (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
free streaming tv Sci-Fi shows star trek TV show reviews Uncategorized

Star Trek TV series you may watch free

When I first took notice of Star Trek Continues the new “Kirk” through me for a loop. I wasn’t prepared to hear a new voice introduce the programs continuation of the “5 year mission.”

After watching a few episodes, I was hooked. The series is great. I started with the first of 10 epiodes, and each show got better and better. Buy the last episode I was close to tears. Excellent programming, and there’s plenty of nod’s to the original show. In fact, the set is a duplicate to the original Hollywood (1967) Trek set. The actors are great, and wow, there’s great cameos by actors from “The Original Series.” ‘Plus’ there’s talent from Star Trek – The Next Generation, Voyager, Farscape, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica (the latest series.)

But this show is NOT the only Trek-tribute series. There is another 10 episodes from a producer who made (the first) Trek studio duplicate. He’s the first Fan Film hero who produced a full size (9,000 plus sq. ft) studio-come-offical-Trek tour, Mr. James Cawley…But WAIT! There’s more.

Tim Russ, from Star Trek Voyager launched a production company that produced a feature-film with James Cawley of Ticonderoga, in Essex County, New York. Russ’s company is called “Atomic” and they are known as the “Renegades” who have and are still producing very professional online content for lovers of Trek, sci-fi and good drama.

I just might give you links to all this great content, but I’d first like to ask you to watch on my noncommercial TV channels. Check out my Roku channels via the TV-APP link herein. (You’ll need either a Roku or an Android device for my free, adfree “Fan Films” app.) You’ll be able to watch a few rare Trek films like this one…

And here’s another very professional Trek-homage that is on my Roku channels.

Okay, so below there are a few samples… Please bookmark this page for future updates to my streaming content, like Star Trek fan films “Horizon” and “Exeter.”

PS: The pic below is a homage to Trek actors who have passed...

Here’s some samples of Fan Made Star Trek films that are considered the absolute best!

A. From Vic Mignogna and the Neutral Zone’s Kingsland, GA Star Trek studio comes 10 shows and a few extra’s. Note, the new Kirk may take some getting used to. Here’s a preview of the show (and don’t forget that you may watch it on my ROKU TV-APPS AD FREE and FREE… This is Star Trek Continues! (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/eLNgNsoZgrE)

B. One of the best episodes from a different group called Renegades, operated by Tim Russ (Voyager) and his Atomic network is a treat to watch. Here’s a one of my favorite episodes of the show that was produced with James Cawley. Please don’t forget that you may watch similar Trek programs on my ROKU TV-APPS AD FREE and FREE… The video opens with Walter koenig and then the episode starts and you’ll see Ferris Bueller’s Alan Ruck in the first scene! (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/kFqAME7dx58 )

C. From the Hollywood-connected James Cawley and his NY Trek studio-come-Official-Star-Trek-Tour was one of the first to work with Stars like Walter Koenig (Chekov) and George Takei (Sulu) — and produce episodes with the folks who are now producing the “Renegades” programs. Here’s a compilation video of teasers, clips, and set-tours. This is Star Trek New Voyages (aka Star Trek Phase II.) Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/TDQ2LZbVut4.

D. A Reminder…Watch many of the Trek films and TV episodes on my FREE, NON-COMMERCIAL ROKU channel’s linked on this website Click to add a free Roku channel.

PSSSS: You can also watch free and AD-Free on my Android APP called “Fan Films” on Googleplay here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fan.films

Enjoy…I’ll be back with more after a brief ‘NON-COMMERCIAL’ announcement! – Dean Lachiusa, curator Movies Plus and MetroFilmFestival “streaming fest” on FilmFreeway.

PS: If you like my free adfree TV streaming services please support me with a buck or two on https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity

Film Festivals are canceling but Online Fests are thriving

Who would have thought that this whole dang virus thing would screw up every live event on the planet? I didn’t anticipate this kind of things months ago when I entered my film into Film Festivals via the FilmFreeway website.

And now, I’m getting email notices. The fests I entered are either postponing or canceling until next year. There’s almost no alternative. Except my own Festival.

Yep, I created a film festival 6 years ago. It’s an online Festival that offers the winners the option to have their movie streamed online and on Roku, Fire TV, and Android.

A little more history…I started building Roku channels years ago. In order to get content that was not the usual public domain fair, I operated two Facebook Video/Photo contests and I also contacted some film buddies and I offered them a free deal to get their films streamed to my audience. The formula worked, although none of us made any money. That’s okay, because the exposure was great — and no

one makes money on short films anyway.

If you think you can recoup your cost of producing a short film — then you’re dreaming…and may God bless the dreamer.

Next, I asked filmmakers if they wanted their film compiled into a feature film or a 30-minute featurette for streaming purposes. The result was my “Zombie Pix” feature film, distributed by VODO to 15 thousand VODO viewers online. Secondly the 30 minute compilation film project was and is still being streamed on my channels, it’s an all-genre video called “Film Fest Best” — and it is one of the most popular videos that I stream. In the end, these two compilation videos gave filmmakers free exposure, and I have some good content for my streaming TV audience.

In 2015, after successfully running (2) video/photo contests on Facebook, I decided to give my Festival a more tangible presence. I built a website, http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com and then I developed an Amazon Fire TV channel. Both worked very nicely. And the audience has grown ever since.

Now, I have over 375,000 subscribers on my Fire TV channel, called “Movies Plus.” And, I have built several new Roku channels, in which the total subscribers are over 1 million. That’s great reach. And it’s free for filmmakers who would like to stream their film on my channels.

There’s even a success story. A filmmaker named Alex who took the initiative to leverage my Fire TV channel. He streamed his “Down River” feature film for 6 months. Then he took the stats from the streaming experience (about 70,000 views) and he presented this to a venture capitalist. It impressed the money-man so much that he agreed to finance Alex’s next film. Now Alex has his movie, “The Directive” on Hulu. There’s a newspaper article that tells the whole story — read it via my Festival page on FilmFreeway.

Okay, so to wrap things up a little, now I have many channels. The most popular are TMN (The Movie Network) and “Movies Plus TV.” And I have my Film Festival that is online and supported by my Roku and Fire TV channels. I also have an Android App, but that is still in the “launching” phase, so I don’t brag about my Android subscribers just yet. You may add the channels and TV-Apps via www.moviesplus.org

If you’re a filmmaker looking for free film distribution…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free exposure for your movie, TV or web series…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free publicity and promotion for your movie or TV Pilot or series…You can get in on this, free.

To get started, you may email me directly, BUT I suggest using the free service film freeway. My Festival is only $5 to $8 to enter. That’s cheap! The submission fees are less than 9 dollars. And in return you get access to all the resources I listed above. Free online streaming for your movie, TV show, Pilot, web series and more.

(Please note that the current Festival doesn’t have a category for Features, therefore if you’d like to have your feature streamed, simply contact me directly on Facebook or through the links on my moviesplus website.)

Also, TRAILERS AND TEASERS are FREE TO ENTER, and you may get yours immediately streamed on Android by visiting my Youtube channel, again the link is on the Movies Plus website.

To enter the Festival for FREE or for as low as $5, please visit https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Cheers and good Streaming,
Dean Lachiusa
Curator, the Metro Film Festival.
http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com — (c) Dean Lachiusa