Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie

clap_boardChapter 43 – The Shoot, Part 1
by Leesa Dean

So did the first shoot on the TOP SECRET PROJECT and it turned out really well. This was not the one featuring the celeb (that one’s this Sunday!!) and I specifically wanted to use this one kinda like a test run, to get the feel of the place, the mix of the crew, etc. It all worked.

I arrived the same time as the talent and second shooter, about ten minutes before our allotted time. I’m one of those people that’s always on time, early even (yes, not so chic), so having them arrive promptly just instantly de-stressed me. Aside from lateness kinda driving me nuts, I’m footing the bill for studio time so it was a relief to not have to worry about that. And believe me, until you’re in it, you really don’t know how people will act.

For the talent, I ended up casting a guy I met at a YouTube event who’s a rapper/producer and just happened to have the look I wanted. At the YouTube event, we worked together on a sketch and really hit it off. He really looks good on film, I thought he was naturally funny and decided to give him a shot. It paid off. He killed it.

The second shooter is one of his best friends (no names since this is the TOP SECRET PROJECT) and we met/worked together at that same YouTube event. He’s is a real tech head and has been doing videos for a while. He was planning on coming to the shoot in any case and I asked if he wanted to be second camera. He agreed. They’re both bigChilltown fans and really wanted to be involved, so it all worked out. It was great to have a another person there–not only to shoot a different angle, but for the feedback.

My producing partner was also the main shooter and he brought a friend who provided a really cool extra zoom lens and manned the audio. They were already there when we arrived.

We were able to not only do a tech run-through, but do tons of takes in different outfits and including ad-libs. Before people shot on digital, the rule of thumb was shoot 6 times the amount of film you actually need. With digital, it’s really limitless. I booked two hours and we easily could have finished within one, but used the extra time to mess around, which is frequently where a lot of the magic really happens. All in all, a great vibe and really productive day.

Oh, and yes, the pipes did clang. Lasted about 10 minutes. I spoke with the owner about it and he’s going to through in the extra time this Sunday.

Can’t wait.

Amazon may start live Web TV service to compete with cable

Amazon or Netflix – which of ’em is going to take over the world?!


AMAZON does its thing

by Casey Johnston

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is attempting to lay the groundwork for a for-pay live Web TV service. The service would offer channels like those currently provided through cable and satellite TV.

The WSJ previously reported that Amazon was developing a set-top box for content delivery that would be similar to Roku or Apple TV. Ostensibly it would work with Amazon’s own Prime Instant Video, but a connected set-top box would also have the potential to deliver streaming live TV.

Sources speaking to the WSJ said that Amazon has “approached at least three big media conglomerates seeking rights to distribute their channels online.” The company’s efforts mirror some of those of Intel’s media platform, which sold to Verizon today. Intel tried for two years to get content distributors on board with the “search and discover” features that would have been its signature, but ultimately it failed to lure distributors away from cable companies.

Read it all

Verizon Is Buying Intel’s Wildly Ambitious Internet TV Project

Speaking of computer-oriented companies branching out into new arenas:


by Jamie Condliffe

After Intel very publicly announced some huge and ambitious plans for its internet TV service, it’s just announced that it’s… selling the project to Verizon.

The telecom company is going to purchase Intel Media, which was set up especially to develop the new TV services. No details, like cash sums, of the transaction have been disclosed. What we do know, though, is that Verizon will gets its hands on some serious amounts of IP relating to Intel’s work, as well as the 350 staff that work on the service. The work will continue to run out of Santa Clara, where Intel has its HQ and the deal is is expected to be finalized before April—subject to regulatory approvals.

Read it all

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 1/29/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Irvine Welsh (TRAINSPOTTING, yeah, baby!) is writing the pilot for an HBO comedy series about “the world of electronic music.” (And if you think for one minute that you could get a pilot deal based on a fuzzy generalization like that, well, you’d better think again. This show’s on the agenda cuz of its players – Welsh, Will Smith, UK DJ Calvin Harris and almost a dozen other “producers” HBO really, really, really wants to be in bed with.)
  • The Formerly Funny Hack Comedian Known as Bill Cosby is looking for a writer for a new NBC comedy series he’s going to star in and which is going to resemble his old NBC comedy series as much as possible. (Usually, this is where I tell you to talk to your agent and get a meeting but Bill Cosby? Word is that he’s the toughest/worst boss in TV since Jack Webb. Who was Jack Webb? Holy crap, do I have to tell you everything? Google him, gang, just google him.)
  • David O. Russell (Yeah, that David O. Russell) & Susannah Grant are developing an ABC series described as “upstairs/downstairs at a private country club,” and no, it isn’t a comedy, it’s said to be an out and out soap. (David O. Russell running a soap. I’d pay to see that. Well, maybe not, but I’ll tune in the first episode…if I remember to set my DVR, that is.)
  • Mike Sikowitz (RULES OF ENGAGEMENT) is now the showrunner of CBS’s upcoming comedy series THE McCARTHYS, about “a sports-crazed Irish Catholic clan in Boston and the gay son…whose greatest sin is…his desire to spend less time with his family.” (We’re saying “new series” even though they’re only just now shooting the pilot cuz…why call a guy a showrunner unless you have a show for him to run?)

Herbie J Pilato: If only they went steady with the camera – but stopped talking to it!

by Herbie J Pilato

Although I am classic TV-oriented, and relatively “old-school” in my mind set of how I believe television shows should be presented and produced, I still have my favorites in the new, contemporary programming of today.

Namely, Modern Family and The Middle, both of which ABC (my favorite network in history) just so happens to broadcast on Wednesday nights.

Although both series are top-notch on all levels (writing, directing, acting, etc.), of course I do have my issues with them.


First up – Modern Family:

Just who exactly are all those people in that family talking to when they look into the camera?  For what documentary are these characters giving interviews?  How long is this “documentary” supposed to go on – and when will it be broadcast?

None of it seems to make any sense (thank you, very much, The Office).

And because of this documentary-style presentation, of course, there has to be the manic, one-camera “shaky-effect.”  God forbid, any new half-hour show (or hour series, for that matter) actually allows the camera to stay on its actors for any lengthy period of time, before it jags to the left and right; and gears up and down.

It’s okay, Mr. Director and Mr. Cameraman – we won’t turn the channel if your show is down well.  Honest.  You don’t have to keep mangling the camera angles just to keep us interested.


Second up – The Middle:

Just exactly who the heck is Patricia Heaton’s Frankie Heck talking to during her narrative throughout the show?  Is she a writer like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City?  Did I miss something from the pilot, where all of that was explained?  At least the narrative effect (from the kids POV) is logical on How I Met Your Mother (which is NOT one of my favorite shows; and is most likely one of the most over-rated, creatively and Nielson-rise, shows on the air).

So, here’s the deal:  we all want to be innovative in all our creations.

But for the Love of Heaven, please make things logical.  Please give a reason why certain things transpire; why particular choices are made, from a production, presentation or character and story development standpoint.

Although they’re funny, the characters on The Middle are not characters, but rather caricatures.  They is no true interaction between them.  It’s as if they’re all doing stand-up material, walking in and out of their scenes, one at a time.

However, at the end of each Middle episode, Frankie’s entire brood finally seems relatable.  They stop acting like caricatures, and behave more like actual people, as they assess their activity from the previous moments of that particular segment.  And it’s wonderful.

But it’s like there is two different set of people:  the caricatures for the majority of the episode’s length – and then the characters finally show up at the end – and interact and talk like believable individuals.

If only they did the latter throughout the entire 30 minutes!

And if only their Wednesday co-harts on Modern Family went steady with the camera – and stopped talking to it.

In both cases, I’d be in Heaven, instead of praying to it for things to change.