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New Years Resolutions 2017: Mid-Year Checkup

1. Produce 2 new projects to completion- In Progress

From the table read for Buy In, a short film by me and Colin Hinckley

2. Finish writing Brains.- Complete!

The final words of Brains.

Date of first draft completion: March 4th, 2017.

Date I’ll get over being done: Never.

3. Post a blog twice a month and a personal YouTube video once a month.- Partial completion

4. Write 2 new original pilots- one drama, one comedy- Partial Completion

It’s been a weird writing year for me. I’ve done a TON of writing, but it was all focused on blogs (for this site as well as for my new job at Stareable) or Brains. Brains was really the only true creative thing I’ve written that has gotten anywhere, and that’s not particularly useful. That said, I did write like 35 pages of a pilot that might become my “drama” pilot, so I’m counting it as in progress.

5. Edit The Toast, my screenplay. [alternate: write a new screenplay]- Partial Completion

I technically have edited a decent amount of The Toast, but there are a few logic holes I keep falling into that make me think maybe I should just retire it. But uggggh I hate writing full-length screenplays. I’d rather write a full season of a new web series.

Hey past Bri… would that count? (no- the point of this resolution is to get me some writing samples that aren’t episodic)

6. Work on a set or production that I didn’t write- Complete!

In February, I spent a Saturday in Queens with my friend Lauren to film a Valentine’s Day commercial parody. You can watch it here:

I was also in an MTV sketch alongside, wait for it, Rupert Grint!!

Plus, I stepped in as an associate producer on season 2 of the web series History.

I was also hired as associate producer and assistant director the new web series The Mother Lode.

7. Leave New York City at least twice. – Partial completion

To film the pitch video for The Mother Lode web series, I went to Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ok, so technically, this resolution should get marked as complete because a few weeks after the above photos were taken, I went BACK to Hoboken, to a different part of it, for a production meeting for the same production. However, I’m holding off calling it a success for now because I’m hoping I can go to two unique places other than NYC this year. I feel decently good about my chances, but you never know.

8. Make better choices when it comes to diet and exercise.- In Progress

Since moving into an apartment just with Quinn, I’ve gotten a lot better about my diet. I’m not making salads for every meal -let’s not go crazy here- but having complete control of my kitchen has encouraged me to start cooking again, meaning I’m eating out less. I’ve also been walking a lot more recently because of all these sets I’ve worked on. Not exactly a choice, per se, but sometimes, when given the option to walk to a closer subway stop from which I’d need to transfer or walking further to not have to transfer, I usually walk further.

9. Be less impatient with other people.

Well. Not having roommates anymore definitely helps with this, but honestly, I haven’t noticed a substantial difference in my internal monologue this year. I’m not even sure what a non-impatient Bri would look like, so this resolution might have been poorly conceived. If you have suggestions for how to measure or combat this, let me know.

10. Go to therapy -Complete!

In record time, I finished this resolution less than two weeks after the new year. Then, five weeks later, I discovered I could no longer afford it due to a series of circumstances, and the suggestions for other therapists to contact fell through because of scheduling. Then like two weeks later I was moving and learned I had lost my job at MTV, which is like a weird therapy trend for me. I stop going, and then my life falls apart. Last time, a week later, my parents got a divorce. Not sure what to do with this information, but hey, new years resolution checked off!

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This is where I live now

After the insanity of last month, I finally filmed a full video to orient you all to my new apartment, which I love a lot. Forgive the slight kitchen mess- Quinn is halfway through making bread. *swoon*

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What else do people do again?

La La Land was ok. I mean, don’t get it twisted, I cried at the ending. That’s not particularly surprising- I cry a lot at TV and movies. I’m wired to care more about fictional narratives than actual human people. That’s not the topic of this blog. The topic of this blog is the sometimes inescapable self congratulatory subjects of media- ourselves. Continue reading “What else do people do again?”

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Writer?

I’m a very picky writer, and that’s starting to bite me in the butt as I go back on the job hunt, desperate not to end up as a barista again. I’m also a jumble of confusing and sometimes unrelated skill sets and strengths as a human in the workforce, which means my poor butt is not looking forward to the end of this metaphor. Moving on. Apologies to my butt. Continue reading “Writer?”

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Face Person

I have always been a shameless self promoter, but now that I’m attempting to join an industry built on networking and chance, I’ve gotten so much worse. Now, even in my Facebook bio, I have to make reference to the fact that I’m an indie filmmaker, that I have an award-winning web series, and that I work at MTV. All these things are things that will hopefully eventually impress someone enough to give me money or a TV show. Continue reading “Face Person”

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The Indignance of “Indie” Film Festivals

I have made no secret of how proud I am about my web series, Brains (2 complete seasons plus extended universe projects online now!) or my friend Chris’s web series, Relativity (complete miniseries online now!), which I produced. But the thing about making films or series, particularly in the independent sphere, is that no one cares without them laurels.

These are laurels:

Essentially, laurels are the fancy little images you get if chosen to be in a film festival, to promote their festival as well as promote that you got in. They’re a badge of honor for any filmmaker, because it means your film/series was chosen out of many other submissions to be screened or highlighted or otherwise. It adds prestige and viability to your image and is an invaluable way to build credibility to continue in the industry.

The image above is a collection of all the laurels my web series, Brains, has collected thus far. It’s incredibly gratifying to look at, although many of the festivals we’ve been in were online only (meaning no live screening with an audience) and none of them are eligible to add to our IMDb page, because they don’t qualify as “legit” in the eyes of the people who make those kinds of decisions. And here’s the major thing I want to talk about today:

The entry fees are too damn high!

I appreciate and love every festival who has let our weird little series into their ranks, but most of them are low prestige and were either free or very cheap to submit to. That’s good and bad for us: good because we can afford them and because more people will see our content, bad because many of these festivals are small enough that we can’t leverage our inclusion for funding or respect in the larger, more prestigious world of “legit” indie filmmaking.

Why not submit to an award show like the Webby Awards? It’s literally designed for content like ours!

THE WEBBY AWARDS IS THE LEADING INTERNATIONAL AWARD HONORING EXCELLENCE ON THE INTERNET. (via)

Well….

Even if we chose to only submit for comedy series, a single entry submission for the Webbys is $385That’s 1/6 of the money we made from IndieGoGo to make the entirety of season 2. For 3 entries, the total submission cost is OVER HALF OUR BUDGET.

How can you honor excellence on the internet, a place where anyone with a camera and a dream can make content, by charging this submission fee? You know who you’re ACTUALLY honoring?

Don’t get me wrong- Krysten Ritter was incredible in Jessica Jones. But talk about unfair competition. She probably makes more in an hour than we spent on BOTH our seasons. Good god.

This is bigger than one festival, though. The Streamys, another online-specific award show, at least have a flat fee when submitting one project for multiple categories, but that fee is still a non-refundable $95. And to get ahead in the world of indie filmmaking, or entertainment in general, you can’t just submit to one or two. Here is Brains’s track record just from a single submission site (FilmFreeway, which I would absolutely recommend)

as of 12/15/16

And that’s just for the first season.

Bottom line: if your film festival is specifically for independent projects or online projects but your submission fee is over $30/$50 (per category especially, but also per project), maybe you should reconsider who you’re doing it for.

We cannot compete in this market. We cannot afford to, and that’s insane. The whole point of creating things independently is doing cool things with fewer resources on your own terms, but this process of paying insane fees to submit our hard work for consideration and viewership is disheartening and unfair.

If I had $385 (the fee to submit to a single category at the Webbys, I’ll remind you) I’d use it to make more projects, not submit it to your elitist “indie” festival, because apparently, it’s “make things” or “maybe get considered for an award that could bring new credibility and prestige to your cast and crew.”

Call me crazy, but I think it should be both.