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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

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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
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

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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 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
film budget, finance, distribution tv, pilot, movie distribution, publicity Uncategorized

How to get money for your film

This video by Film Riot discusses the in’s and out’s of money making for indie filmmakers. Please take note that he does mention that Film Riot videos do make about $1,000 on Youtube because they have over 1-MILLION views. Yep, there’s a stat to take notice of. (Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/hvDJ1a1j6Xc)

Host Ryan Connolly also mentions that he sells Posters and some ancillary products — but he never recoups his cost. “Short films are passion products…you make them to get exposure…you rarely make any money…”

How does he get money to make a film? He goes to people to sponsor him — of course, Film Riot has a large subscriber base, and products like Adobe, and manufactures of cameras respect Film Riot, so he has a realistic approach to getting investors based upon his Film Riot following. Do you have an audience of millions like Film Riot?

Another method, do what Alex did with the Movies Plus Fire TV channel. He streamed his film for 6 months. He then took the download stats to an investor (about 70,000 downloads) and Alex got financing based upon his success on Fire TV. See how you can do this for $4 on https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Kickstarter, Film Riot has never used it. He does talk to a filmmaker who treated Kickstarter campaign like a full time job and made “Pizza Time.”

Also, The film “Sky Watch” (released on Youtube) is discussed, and how the filmmakers no-budget, badly made short films finally helped him to produce films like Sky Watch successfully. He says “you can’t make money on narrative films…” And he “fostered relationships from short films” to gain financing on a bigger productions. That’s a lesson.

If you treat your cast and crew like peons or minions, do you think they’ll help you on future productions?

David Sandberg talks about how he used low budget equipment like a homemade built dolly made from Ikea parts, cheap 300 watt lights to shoot his early shorts, and like Blender 3D software (free). He says “professional gear takes a beating and will go on forever…cheap gear will [cost] you…time.”

Below is another Film Riot – budget oriented video. Before watching it, Youtube played a “Masterclass” advert-video by Ron Howard. It was very interesting to me, and one thing stuck out. This is a little off topic, but please indulge me for a second.

They showed Ron Howard behind the scenes, he instructed an actor to say a line a particular way, and Ron said the line the way that he, an actor would say it. I’d like to point out that Ron Howard has the acting chops to do this, while other Directors might not have the experience to suggest to an actor that they emulate his delivery. (A little food for thought.) Let’s move on to the next video.

What is low budget?
This is mostly a video about independent films made with low or now budget. Ryan says a micro budget is up to $500,000 outside of the Hollywood system, but geared towards being sold to legitimate distributors, some who are “Hollywood.” Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device https://youtu.be/AEOo2MzdxyA)

Note that Ryan mentions these are not hard and fast rules and “numbers.” When focusing on shorts, budget can depend largely on where your located. His short films were all low budget films (like $300.) And he discusses how he progressed up to $100,000 for his “Ballistic” short, where he depended on allot of free crew-work and more. He says “…The more money I had…the more stress…and tighter restraints.” So, the take home lesson here is that having more money does not guarantee that you’ll have an easy, stress-free shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to read more, please visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus — (c) Dean Lachiusa

Categories
TV show reviews Uncategorized

Spellfury, a Sword & Sorcery Comedy Series

Years ago I spoke with Travis Gordon, the writer/producer/director, CGI artist and the creative thrust for the Spellfury youtube series. He’s a great guy with high hopes for his micro-budget TV Sword and Sorcery (and comedy.) Spellfury is just plain fun.

I fell in love with it the first time I watched an episode. Does it have the big budget effects and talents like Felicia Day? Nope, but that’s okay by me. I don’t judge Spellfury on it’s merits as a high-tech show — because it’s not poised to be compared with Stargate or Dirk Gently.

She Punches With Elf Power!

Actress/Producer Julie O’Halloran answers questions about the popular web series “SpellFury.”  She plays the role of Druinia, a passionate, multi-talented Elf on a mission. 

Druinia of Spell Fury uses Elf power

Q: The outfit is a little tiny, do you ever get any feedback good or bad regarding how your character is portrayed?

Answer: The feedback has been positive. Although the outfit is a little revealing, I think Druinia comes across as a very strong and independent character. I think the fans think its just part of the fun of the show.

Q: What parts of Druinia’s character are strong, and how do you see her overall – as a sensitive character?

Answer: Druinia is very independent and strong. She’s tough when she has to be but she has shown her softer side as well. I think the interesting part of her character will be balancing how tough she will have to be in fighting off different creatures on the show, but also being vulnerable at the same time, showing that she’s a real person with real feelings.

Q: Is it difficult to work in green screen? Explain how you get ready for the process of working with characters that will later be placed into the scene. Any trouble with fight scenes?

Using Green Screen on the Set

Answer: I have a very supportive cast and crew who make the fight scenes fun. We rehearse them a lot, and work out all the movements so things go pretty good all in all.

Q: Any thoughts on how Druinia’s character will expand in the next season? Do you think your character will have a love interest in the story?

Answer: I think Druinia will learn more about herself and what lengths she’s willing to go to avenging her father’s killer. She will encounter more characters and more creatures that will test her in different ways. As for a love story…I don’t think anything is out of the question, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: “Spellfury is an action comedy web series. It is a “a comically low-budget fantasy series that gently mocks The Lord of the Rings genre with exploding monsters and bad wigs”. Spellfury is a comedic fantasy adventure web series written and directed by Travis Gordon and stars Julie O’Halloran as Druinia”

Meanwhile, I’ll contact Travis and see if there is a way to get Spellfury streamed on my TV-channels. Here’s the primary cast n’ crew: Jason Devlin, Penu Chalykoff, Sarah Ferguson, Travis Gordon, and Costumes by Ann Gunthorpe of “Ye Olde Bag Company.” Below is the youtube intro (episode 1.) Here’s the Youtube url for those of you using a mobile device. https://youtu.be/UNJ7sbfS4Xg

Thank you for watching, I love to support indies, especially Webisodes like SpellFury, and I hope you do too. — (c) Dean Lachiusa