Bri Castellini: Mid year checkin- New Years Resolutions 2018 – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

It’s… going ok?

Resolutions: 2018 Edition

Produce 2 new projects I write to completion.- IN PROGRESS

Back in January I filmed my latest short film, co-written and co-produced by my buddy Colin Hinckley.

We also just completed crowdfunding for my second of the year, season 2 of Sam and Pat Are Depressed! That shoots… starting this weekend… so we’re on track!

Write a feature-length screenplay- PROBABLY AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

I’d love to be able to end the year with a new feature script, but this has been a challenging one to say the least, and given my workload at my day job (and the four projects I’m producing in full this year- the two I mentioned above and two that I was hired on earlier in the summer) I don’t see this happening. I could surprise myself, especially as I don’t have anything lined up post-August, but I’m also not gonna force inspiration that isn’t coming.

Post a blog twice a month and a personal YouTube video once a month.- PARTIAL FAILURE

I’ll definitely meet the blog post criterion, but I’ve already skipped… two months of videos. Well, vlogs. I’ve shot/edited around 20 videos in the past two months for the Sam and Pat crowdfunding campaign, so it’s safe to say I had other things going on. There was also a part of this resolution that had to do with doing more interesting shots in vlogs which also definitely is not happening.

Write 2 new TV scripts- one original pilot, one spec script.- IN PROGRESS

I’ll definitely have a new original pilot written unless I do nothing from now until January 2019, but I doubt I’m gonna get to the spec script. In terms of my personal creative/career priorities, like the feature screenplay, it might just not be my year.

Close caption all previous (and new 2018) projects – IN PROGRESS 

Brains, Sam and Pat season 1, and Relativity are all entirely closed captioned! What remains is Ace and Anxious, both Brains extended universe projects, and anything new I release online (might be Sam and Pat, might be Buy In, might be neither). This one I’m pretty confident I’m gonna complete. The hardest stuff is already over!

Save $1500  IN PROGRESS

Savings so far: $1060

I’m on track AF!

Leave New York City at least twice.– COMPLETE

Trip #1: New Jersey to speak on a panel/ participate web series screening!

Trip #2: Toronto for work

Technically I also left the city for Hoboken for a web series shoot, and I will be home in Colorado before the end of the year as well. So DOUBLE completion!

Eat out less than three times a week and do something active every day.- FAILED

This happened for a little while, then work started piling up a pretty excessive amount and I had another infected ingrown toenail issue which made walking pretty painful, so I have not kept this up in a while. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely my fault, but it’s a little my fault, and it’s definitely a failure overall.

Take a photo every day- FAILED

Having a cell phone that makes a noise (that I cannot turn off without jailbreaking it) really hampers your ability to do this well, because taking photos in public, even of random stuff, is super embarrassing. I have definitely taken MORE photos this year than previously, but the letter of the law was not met, so this one is defo a failure.

Talk less, listen more.- IN PROGRESS

I feel like I’m doing alright at this? I definitely forgot this was a resolution, but in general I am making a concerted effort to talk less in conversations as I tend to be a bit of a bulldozer. I’ll keep a closer eye on this one for the rest of the year.

Final tally…

1 COMPLETE!

6 IN PROGRESS!

FAILURES/PARTIAL FAILURES!

Not great? But not terrible either. This year has been stressful in a way I’ve not ever experienced, which I’m sure I’ll write about next month when the main stuff is over. In the meantime, I should probably memorize my lines for Sam and Pat this weekend…..

*if anyone wants to help me CC Ace and Anxious, let me know!


Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

With Great Exposure Comes Great Responsibility

Wil Wheaton has given the world the following post “regarding blocklists, trolls, twitter’s systemic inaction against abuse, and the responsibility of wielding great power,” and we’re bringing it to your attention not because it’s by Wil Wheaton (!!!) but because Mr. W. is as correct as he can possibly be (and so very often is) about something that affects all of us who read, write, or otherwise deport ourselves on these interwebs:

by Wil Wheaton

Jesus what a day.

Apparently, a couple of exceptionally popular YouTube creators were talking on Twitter about being blocked by me. Their fans grabbed their jump to conclusions mats, torches and pitchforks in hand, and went on a rampage through my mentions.

So I guess it’s time for the obligatory blog post that I don’t want to write but need to write, about how I use social media.

First off: I think I know what happened in this case. A couple months (or maybe it was weeks; in 2018, hours can feel like days) ago, a toxic YouTube personality with a large and unsurprisingly toxic following just went after me one day, without provocation. Over the years, people have tried to create the illusion of a feud with me, in an effort to get my attention and grab some free publicity to drive up views and subscriptions. I always ignore these things, because they are childish at best, and they invite a kind of negativity and vitriol that I would prefer not to have in my life. (As a side note, if someone claiming to be a social media expert pitches the fake feud idea to you, fire them and burn their contact information to the ground. That person is an idiot.)

Anyway. This person already had a following that eclipsed mine by several a factor of at least ten, so they weren’t going to gain anything if I gave them the attention they were looking for. It honestly felt like a young person who was feeling powerful and wanted to use the power of their following to make my life miserable, to entertain the shitty people who follow them. In my efforts to be empathetic to this person, I will freely admit that, when I was in my teens or early twenties, I probably would have thought that what they were doing was harmless, and that the person who was being attacked and dogpiled probably deserved it for some reason, and that they shouldn’t take everything so seriously. Thankfully, I grew up and out of that mentality.

So awhile ago, when this person turned my Twitter mentions into a goddamn Nazi rally, I did a little work to track down patient zero. I found this person, blocked their account, and then blocked their followers, so they would lose one of their attack vectors. I freely accept that a lot of innocent people were caught up in this massive blocking, and many of them are YouTube personalities (because it appears that, at some point, an explicit or implicit agreement was made among YouTubers that a lot of them would follow each other on social media. I wonder why good and decent people would follow this toxic person, but that’s on them, not on me.) In the aftermath, a lot of these YouTube personalities have, at some point, made a bunch of noise about being blocked by me. “Oh why did this happen,” they wonder, “I’ve never interacted with this guy. Please tell me, dear followers who worship me, whatever did I do to deserve this great injustice….”

Read it all at WIL WHEATON dot Net

Are Horrible Bosses a Hollywood Way of Life?

Sometimes it seems as though the phrase “being employed” automatically means, “Help! I’m being harassed.” Or are we all just snowflakes, melting when we should be standing firm?

Look Out For Horrible Hollywood Bosses
by David Silverman, MA, LMFT

With the whole writing staff watching, waiting to work, our boss would be trying on pants. A tailor was taking his measurements. When he was satisfied, he told the tailor he’d like thirty pair of these pants sent to his home in LA, and thirty pair sent to his summer home.

Thirty pair?  Sixty total? That’s a lot of pants. What was going on?

This took place in the writer’s room of the show he’d created.  His official title was Executive producer.  He was our boss, our leader, the showrunner.  He made all the high level creative decisions. Without him, the rewrites couldn’t begin.  The writers were ready to work.

There was always plenty of work to do. However, it felt like he was always stalling. Procrastinating. He had a hard time getting started on all the rewrites. There was no urgency.

We’d leave at 2 AM, or sometimes stay up all night. What was going on with him? Didn’t he miss his family? Did he just like hanging out with us?

After working with him for a while it became clear that he wasn’t an intentionally mean boss (like so many others),but was basically a big kid.

He liked to race golf carts around the studio like they were go-karts. One time he had a staff writer riding on the back of the cart. The showrunner decided to “pop a wheelie,” causing the writer to fall backwards off the golf cart and break his leg. He spent the next few months wearing a cast.

It kind of seemed like he wanted to show off in front of us.

One time, while the writing staff was supposed to be working, he picked up the phone and ranted at the network suits for twenty minutes and banned them from the set. Then he hung up. And laughed.

These rewrite sessions took place generally in the late afternoon, after rehearsals. The entire writing staff would gather in his office as he got ready to rewrite that week’s script. At this point he’d look for things to do instead of writing. Anything….

Read it all at Psych Central

New TV & Film Writers: Don’t Let Yourself Get Scammed!

A few words of warning from The Hollywood Reporter.

Once considered the tail-ender showbiz trade mag in terms of both reporting and readership, THR’s sophisticated and knowledgeable web presence has made it the leader these days, so we’re always glad to see them helping writers this way:

by Stephen Galloway

A few weeks after Manny Fonseca arrived in Los Angeles in the early part of this decade, having left his native Michigan with the hope of becoming a Hollywood writer or executive, the then 30-year-old was at a party when a producer asked if he’d “like to make a hundred bucks.” Sure, he replied. What would he have to do?

The answer was to show up the next day at a “pitch fest,” one of dozens of such gatherings each year in which hopefuls pay hundreds of dollars to serve up their story ideas to agents and executives who, in theory, will buy them if they’re good. Fonseca would be there as one of the buyers, which struck him as strange — not only was he not an executive, he didn’t even have a proper job: he had been interning with producers Arnold Kopelson and Irwin Winkler.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” says Fonseca (now a screenwriter whose work has yet to be produced), who was soon invited to other such watering holes on behalf of Kopelson Entertainment. “There were writers that I knew by name because they would literally go to every single pitch fest. There were a couple of people that drove around in their RV. It was like following the Grateful Dead for two or three years straight.”

Pitch fests are part of a multimillion-dollar industry that thrives in a dark corner of the mainstream entertainment business, catering to thousands (and possibly hundreds of thousands) of would-be screenwriters, most of them clueless about how to get their projects made. There are writing festivals, competitions, workshops, websites, extension classes, seminars, script analysts, coaches and a Writers Store in Burbank (which offers software, books and a “do-it-yourself MFA”), not to mention rapacious producers and hungry managers, all making money from putative scribes often oblivious to Hollywood reality.

“What I learned — and I know it because I was the one being sent to these things — is you’re sitting there with no power,” says one literary agent. “As an assistant at an agency, you’re not allowed to sign people, and most of the time you’re talking to amateur writers who shouldn’t be repped….”

Read it all at TheHollywoodReporter.Com

Bri Castellini: How To Make Your Film With Friends & Keep Them – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

Calling in favors is the true currency of indie filmmaking, and often the form of these favors is enlisting friends to be a part of your cast or crew. Perhaps you’re all equals, having gone into the project together to make something you’re all proud of. Perhaps one person created something cool and everyone else swarmed to support. In any case, though, mixing business with friendship and not having any money is bound to get complicated. Here are 6 tips I’ve learned or gleaned from fellow filmmakers on how to work with friends and actually stay friends with them.

1. Decide on a leader

From my How To Not Fight On Set article:

As early as humanly possible, you need to decide who’s in charge; if the command structure is weak or fragmented, you will fight more because everyone is vying for control. Even if the same person isn’t in charge on and off set, make sure everyone is aware of the food chain no matter where they are. For example, in my projects so far I’ve been a writer/actor/producer and am in charge of most things off set, but as soon as I put my costume on, my director is the point person. If I disagree with the director on set, the solution is either for me to back down or for them to try both because the director is in charge and I have to respect that.

This is even more important when you’re among friends, and it’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but you’re going to have to get over that. You have to take your work seriously, otherwise no one else will. Keep the lines clear and you should be able to skirt the muddier parts of collaborating with friends. For more advice on the leader/friend balance, check out Kyla Dowling’s article all about it!

2. Get it in writing

See here and here for some guidance, but all that considered, it doesn’t have to be a crazy 18-pager in full legal jargon. A contract in this case is largely to indicate, in writing, that all parties take this work seriously and that they have agreed upon terms and responsibilities for said work….

Read it all at Stareable


Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Stareable’s Blog.