Saturday, October 4, 2014

Feature on Jane Kelly Kosek (that's me) in Lady Clever!




Hi everyone! My good friend and colleague Abby Stern put together a wonderful feature on me and my work at Meritage Pictures for the Web site Lady Clever.




Abby really challenged me to dig deep about my motivations behind my work. It was really fun to ponder where I've been and where I'm going. I hope you check it out!

Here's a link to the article: Indie Film Producer Jane Kosek on the Silver Screen.

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Q&A with the Creators Edward Kiniry-Ostro and Sal Neslusan of the Web Series "Roomiess"

What made you decide to film a web series?
Well, Sal had recently wrapped production on her first web series, Professional Friend, and Ed had completed his first short film, Hold Up Heart, this past winter. We were both itching to create content that could reach a wide market with broad appeal. Sounds like the World Wide Web, doesn’t it? We thought so too! So we turned towards that direction and have had a blast doing so.

Tell us about your web series. What inspired you to make it?
We were really interested in creating bite-sized comedy that people could choose to binge watch all together or in bits and pieces while their boss wasn’t looking at work. We also thought it would be fun to create shorter pieces that people could share amongst their friends. We both know anything past the two minute mark can sometimes feel like a marathon when it’s online. We wanted to carve out something that is uniquely us and still had the relationships of a sitcom but also caters well to the world of 140 characters and buzzfeed lists.

What do you love about your web series?
We love the stuff we came up with together. Our brains all think in very different ways, so when we truly collaborate, something fun happens. For example, one of the team’s favorite episodes was “Special” Victims: our homage to Law and Order:SVU. That episode was written around Ed’s kitchen table, and then when our director got his hands on it, it became a completely different animal. It was 100% a team effort. We were also inspired by some of our favorite shows out there like Broad City, 30 Rock and Portlandia. We feel we’ve captured some of their spirit while still keeping our own take on things. We love humor that’s irreverent but remains grounded in the slightly skewed universe that the characters live in. Keeping Stu & Syd in their bedrooms was also a fun challenge - how many adventures can they get into in a bedroom? Well, apparently a lot! So we’re just stoked we were able to keep pushing ourselves to be creative while utilizing the minimum amount of tools.

How long did it take you to make your web series?
We started writing in February, pre-production began in May, we were shooting in June and had wrapped by August. We basically finished it the morning we released. Say whaaa?!

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?
The most challenging part was probably in post. We had originally slated the first season to be a weekly series. Three weeks prior to our launch, we made the decision to go “Beyonce” and release the whole season at once. Ugh. This elevated our stress ten fold! Another thing we have in common with Beyonce. There are just so many. That said, we thought this was a better move as more and more people are binge watching. Since we’re fairly new to this world, we wanted our audience to get to know us immediately. When you alter the release date like this it definitely adds a lot more pressure. Everyone wants a solid product especially since they’ve been working so hard for some time on it, so we just made sure communication was our top priority. We have such a strong crew and so making sure everyone is heard is vital to us so we can all be proud of our work at the end of the day.

What’s next for your web series? When and how can people see it?
Well we’ve got a few different ideas rolling around for Stu & Syd, but for now you can catch find them at roomiess.com, or on our youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/RoomiessTV. You can also like Roomiess on Facebook and follow @stuandsyd on twitter!

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their web series made?
We think you have to just take the leap and do it. Don’t just sit around writing and saying you’re going to make something. Make something. Ask for favors, dip into savings, stay up all night working - but you have to actually do it. We’re also strong believers in feedback. We asked everyone for their input. Sometimes it’s crap, and you’ve got to know that, but if you’re asking for it you’ve also got to know when to keep your mouth shut and listen. More often than not, even if you don’t like what they might have to say, it probably is going to help you in the long run. So be kind, gracious, and ask for help. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Wattpad Is Helping Me as a Filmmaker

It all comes down to story. I have been trying to stretch myself beyond just producing lately due to my love of story - I have been writing, directing and even editing my own work. I'm writing in mediums outside of film - from creating Web series to writing novellas and tackling a full novel.

I noticed Wattpad a few months ago but I wasn't really aware of what it was and how it could benefit me as a storyteller. I had been writing novellas and publishing them on Amazon and I knew I wanted to tackle a novel. 

Then my friend and cowriter Kristin Goodman suggested we publish a novella based on our screenplay The Virgin on Wattpad. I thought, why not? It might bring attention to the story and I had always thought it would make a great novella.

So that's what we did. Kristin took the lead on writing the novella for The Virgin. We have over three thousand reads and have garnered some wonderful comments from readers. You can check out The Virgin novella here.

And soon I realized that my first novel idea would be ideal for Wattpad as well. It seemed like a great way to be motivated to write each day and build an audience along the way.

The novel I'm writing is titled 30 Days to Love and it's about the first thirty days in Shauna and James's relationship. It explores the roller coaster ride that every relationship goes through during the first thirty days:
Shauna can't wait to graduate and embark on a new career across the country in New York City. She's ready for a fresh start until she meets James - one month before graduation. She is determined to not start a new relationship with anyone since she has to focus on finals and move in just a few weeks.
The problem is that she has little resolve around James. And he might just be her soul mate. Each day, she tries to push him away but instead finds herself falling a little more in love with him, knowing that she only has thirty days to make a choice between love and her career.
The scariest part about writing a chapter each day and loading it over the course of thirty days is that I'm putting up first drafts for all the world to see. I don't have the luxury of rewriting until I'm happy with what I've written. I have time to write and load and that's it. 

I have to say it's been incredibly motivating. I look forward to writing 1000 to 3000 words a day. And it's becoming a routine, which I'm so happy about. I can see myself continuing with this schedule of writing each day. And seeing that over 1500 people have read my writing thus far feels awesome. I hope that continues to grow. 

So while my story may be rough, it's inspiring me to keep going - figure out my voice - follow my passion - write what I love. I hope you check out 30 Days to Love here!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Film's Life after Initial Distribution Platforms

I'd like to start a discussion about life of a film after its initial distribution license periods come to an end. I have a couple of titles that are coming up to the end of their first or second license periods with big aggregators who helped the titles appear on big platforms like cable Video-on-Demand, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. I want to strategize the next phase of these films' lives.

I know that I can reload the film myself on Amazon so that's a start. But what else is out there? I know of and have some experience with the following:

IndieReign (www.indiereign.com)
Distrify (www.distrify.com)
IndieFlix (www.indieflix.com)
Amazon (www.amazon.com)

I know there is Fandor (www.fandor.com) as well, but they curate their titles so it's not a guarantee of acceptance.

Are there any other online distribution platforms for independent film? I'm doing the research and will share the list as soon as I have one complete.

And let me know your thoughts on any with which you have experience. Sharing our experiences will hopefully lead to a stronger independent world. Thanks all!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Short Film Series at American Cinematheque This Thursday and Q&A with short film In Confidence director Mitch Levine

A friend told me about a short film series at the American Cinematheque this Thursday. I didn't know about it. It looks like a great opportunity to screen your film in Los Angeles. I'll have to check it out.

This Thursday, In Confidence is playing during the program. Looks like a great way to spend a Thursday night!

Enjoy a Q&A with Mitch Levine, director of In Confidence:
  • What made you decide to become a filmmaker? 
I’d had a career as a director and designer of theatre, opera and dance and started thinking about expanding my visual storytelling pallet to film, an art form I loved as a spectator, but had never engaged as an artist. I was offered a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute, although neither I nor they knew if I could tell a story with a camera. My first day on set, as I called “action” for the first time, I knew I was home.
  • Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?
I’m a directing member of the Actors Studio, an extraordinary place that’s home to many of the finest actors, writers and directors in the world. There, I saw a reading of a short play by Deborah Pearl. It was the story of a woman who finds herself in an unusual circumstance and makes a provocative choice – and the consequences that choice has on the rest of her life. That play and its depiction ignited something in me. The play’s themes and the central character’s journey were powerful, poignant and evocative. The performance by its lead actress, Beege Barkette, was extraordinary. And so as soon as the reading concluded, I rushed to the writer and to the actress and asked if they’d be interested in transforming their stage play into cinema – and they both immediately agreed. Together, we re-imagined the play as a film. And less than two months later, we were in production.
  • What do you love about your film?
The incredible esprit de corps that informed every moment of its pre-production, production and post and that continues to this day. I am blessed with an amazing team: We had an angel investor, J.R.A. Maduro, who fully supported our undertaking. And after Beege (our lead) and Deborah (our screenwriter), my amazing producer, Mary-Lyn Chambers was quick to sign on, followed by the remarkable Svetlana Cvetko (our cinematographer and the DP on the Oscar-winning INSIDE JOB, amongst other terrific films), James Kent, our Production Designer (fresh off numerous projects with Michael Mann), costumer Kate Bergh and stylist Kathy Bayley. And then, as we entered post, we were joined by our amazing editor, Nahall Esteghamat, award-winning composer Penka Kouneva (who scored my first film), Geoff Green, our sound designer and Damian McDonnell, our phenomenal colorist from Technicolor. And there were many other artists and others who gave of themselves, including Craig Barnes and Donovan Kosters at Visionary Forces, who donated a complete Alexa camera package and then provided our final mastering and DCP. That was my greatest love, the extraordinary people who supported my vision and the creation of this film.
  • How long did it take you to make your film?
Incredibly, we shot the whole thing in a single day, due to the very limited availability of our principal collaborators. And post production took about seven months.
  • What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge was our very production concept: Beege Barkette gives a remarkable performance – and Molly, the character she portrays – is the only character in the drama. She speaks directly to camera for the entire film – which then intercuts between her conscious and sub-conscious lives. It was incredibly difficult for her to act with a camera lens as her only scene partner – and to make the audience feel as if they are the ones engaged in the conversation. In shooting the “sub-conscious” scenes, Beege had to re-create the emotional foundation and essence of the conscious-state ones. It was an incredibly difficult character journey to direct, but Beege – and the entire team – trusted and believed. And the result is now on screen.
  • Tell us about your experience getting into this shorts program. 
I love the American Cinematheque and what it represents: sharing the best cinema with an engaged and appreciative audience in one of the finest theatres – the Egyptian – anywhere. I was honored to have my first film, Shadows, presented there and feel thrilled and privileged to have In Confidence screening there now. And I’m very grateful to their shorts programmer, Andrew Crane, who’s been an amazing supporter of my films and of so much undiscovered cinema. We’re honored to be a part of this amazing program.
  • If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?
I don’t think I would. This film and its production were blessed.
  • What’s next for your film? When and how can people see it? 
We’re still doing a few fests, but will be distributing it online and through multiple platforms in the very near future. People should stay tuned for news on our website (www.InConfidenceMovie.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/InConfidenceMovie).
  • Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made? 
Believe in your vision, surround yourself with the very best people – and embrace their artistry and creativity in helping you realize it.