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Building A Successful Web Series: Just Like High School

Jul 31, 2014 3:24PM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


The video update below features a conversation between myself and another web series creator as we discuss the minefield of practical problems and impractical expectations encountered when trying to manufacture meaningful visual genre fiction in your spare time.

This week we've thrown a production together super fast and it feels so much like shooting videos in high school. Part of it probably has to do with the truncated pre-production. The two-week entry period for this contest started on the 24th and on the 25th I finally felt like I had a good idea for an under 3-minute short. I wrote the script and hated it. Scrapped it. Back to square one. I woke up on the 26th with an idea for a short little visual story. I've always heard filmmakers talk about waking up with an idea, but this is the first time it's ever happened to me. I was rolling out of bed just before 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning with Eliza saying, “Where are you going,” and me saying, “I think I've got the short.” Made some coffee, wrote the thing, and liked it. I printed it, 3-and-a-half pages of mostly action, and handed it to Eliza. She liked it. I sent it to Craig, who's been the most vocal about making a unique, contained story for this contest instead of using a sequence from PoPS. He said: “I think it's really cool. Definitely give you good opportunity to show your skills. It doesn't have a lot of that trademark Jake dialogue, but I'd say if you can pull it off in time it might be the one.” I just had my email open so I thought I'd throw in the verbatim exchange here. I shotlisted it, we quickly grabbed some props, cast it from our regulars and folks we've met during the web series, and decided to shoot it over two nights in a really cool public location I knew of but didn't ask permission to use. That's what probably made it feel the most like high school. Just heading into an public area and shooting with your friends.

Three nights later we were out piecing it together. It's all outside in this beautiful ravine and we only had work days available to shoot it. So, I left work a little early for two days and we'd have from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when it would just get too dark to shoot, to get everything we needed. So about 6 hours total. Last night we wrapped four of the five actors. I'm going to have to meet with the remaining actor tomorrow night to get the last half page of stuff. Tonight, I start editing and I can't wait to see this thing come together. It all just looked so gorgeous in playback.

Every once in a awhile it's nice to get out there and shoot something super quickly that has nothing to do with complicated pre-pro or large overarching stories. It really felt like one of those dash-and-grab chase movies we used to make after school. Just with way better equipment at our disposal.

Thanks for reading.


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2014 Quarter-Finalists NexTV's Acting & Directing Talent Search

Jul 23, 2014 8:57PM

CONGRATULATIONS to the extraordinary QUARTER-FINALISTS for the 2014 NexTV AGENT CHALLENGE: Acting & Directing Talent Search.

DIRECTORS                                     ACTORS
Jon Alston Tade Adepoyibi
Angel Alvarez Steven Allerick
Ivan Andrijanic Shanti Ashanti
Michael Aronson Sashah Askari
Devon Avery Guy Balotine
George Barnes Brian Beacock
Jared Bentley Erwin Bozzolini
Mikael Berg John Broker
David  Blankleider Shaun Broyls
Sean Bloch Laura Burnett
Tyler Bodamer Fulvio Cecere
Dave Bundtzen Samantha Colicchio
Alrik Bursell Jennifer Collins
Brandon Cano-Errecart Lourdes Colon
Roberto Carmona Sally Connors
Nicholas Casucci Howard Corlett
Luca Ceccarelli Thomas Cox
Cameron Chin Veronica Dang
Nikila Cole Julianna David
Patty Cornell Nessya Dayan
Ryan  Cross Harold Dennis
Jules Dameron Claudia DiMartino
Carlos del Rosario Marty Elcan
Sean Dimri Brandon Elsey
Christoph Dostal Robert Fabiani
Svet Doytchinov Mike Faerber
Mathilde Dratwa Kathryn Farren
Julie D. Dunn Erika Flores
Guy-Roger Duvert James Fraser
Jake Ehrlich Josh Frazier
Brandon Elsey Andrew Goldenberg
Norm Fassbender Karen-Eileen Gordon
John Fitzpatrick Joyce Greenleaf
James Fraser Christopher Grove
Justin Galindo Damien Hannaway
Karen goldfarb Chris Hardie
Sarah Gurfield Christina Harding
Gerren Hall Marzy Hart
Julio Hallivis Marzy Hart
Colleen Hamilton Colleen Hartnett
Eric Hayes Rebecca Honett
Gary Hebert Thomas Faustin Huisking
Ross Hockrow Reza Ibrahim
Dennis Hodges Will Julian
Hans Eric Hollstein Tom Kelly
Ellen Houlihan Alex Kruz
James Huang Alex Lane
John Huckert Frederick  Lawrence 
E.B. Hughes Shawn Lidale
Jake Jarvi evelyn lorena
Hugh Mason
Doug King Ioanna Meli
Krisztian Koves Amelia  Meyers
Karen Lam Richard Millen
Adriel Leff Mindy Montavon
Fabio Lopes Lorraine Montez
Erik Christopher Lopez Christina Myers
Loris Lora Alexis Nichols
Francisco Lorite Peter Pasco
Peter Macaluso Elisabetha Pejcinoska
Jared MacGougan David Pendleton
Kenneth Mader John Phillips
Inka Malovic Cameron Radice
Mark Anthony Marez Edgar Ribon
Aaron Martinez Andrea Ridgeway
Troy McGatlin Meredith Riley Stewart
Justin McLachlan Reshha  Sabbarwal
Edward Mensore Errol Sack
Dan Michael Audrey Saracco
Brigitte Millar Meg Saricks
Michael Minton Anna Scott
Mark Mountford Laura Sheehy
Sean Patrick Murphy Jayson 
TJ Musgrove Jordan  Smith
Diane Namm Nathalie Soderqvist
Rachel Noll Samantha Spatari
Ilo Orleans Saria Steyl
Bryan Ortiz Adria Tennor
Corey  Patrick Ian Todary
Elisabetha Pejcinoska Joe Tong
Dennis Petersen Pernille Trojgaard
Jonathan Pezza Cody Vaughan
Michael Pistello Victor Verhaeghe
Dan Przygoda Jay Ward
Alessandro Puccini Krystal White
Jerry Pyle Wendy Wilkins
Irene C Rodriguez    
Rudi Rose    
Ben Ross    
Daniel Ruebesam
Bob Rusch
Jorge Sanchez
Jason Satterlund
Beatrice Schreiber
Carl Seaton
Brian Shackelford
Mu Fan Shih
Trevor Simms
Nirali Somaia
Wro Stephens
David Toth
Paul Trillo
Ryan Turner
Osokwe Tychicus Vasquez
Vincent Veloso
Lawrence Wallace
Alex Weinress
Julian Weiss
Kenneth Andrew  Williams
Johnny Winningham
Paulo Zumach

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Jul 10, 2014 11:02AM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


The update below deals with some of the music from the episode as well as posing the question of where brand new viewers should begin watching our series.

In answer to the question at the end of the last video update, it seems like Episode 5, part 1 is going to come out on top, which makes a lot of sense. I wrote the opening to serve as a gateway for the uninitiated and it seems to be doing it's job rather nicely. Quite a few have mentioned that it was their hook into the series and made them interested enough to sit through the lousy quality of the first few episodes.

Despite uploading a video to YouTube every week, I rarely think of myself as a “real” YouTuber. My “real” content—the content I put the most effort into—comes out a year at a time. One YEAR at a time. Internet-wise, that's just plain irresponsible. A recipe for success it is not. It always feels like a success when the episodes come out, because of the amazing responses, but it feels more like releasing a new movie than an episode of a TV series. There's this agonizingly long period of production and post production then a sudden build up and an opening weekend kind of vibe to the release. If the weekly updates or the short instructional videos I do are sprints, the episode is a marathon I'm running for a year. I felt like the slowest person ever. Or like I was proving something about dedication to a particular story that other YouTubers didn't understand.

Then came Rian Johnson.

I've been on a bit of a young directors kick recently. I watched all the Richard Kelly movies again to see if Darko was still the only one that actually holds together. Yup, but only the theatrical version and by the grace of the viewer. The Box came SO close, but he muddled it up in the middle with his water-box nonsense and tied it to the worst Cameron Diaz performance ever recorded. Which is just unfathomable. I like Cameron Diaz a lot.

Then I dove back through the Rian Johnson movies. Fantastic. And now to my point, it took him six years to get the financing to makeBrickThat's a haul. My one year of dedication to an episode is like NOTHING compared to six years of pounding on a project before he even rolled one frame on it. And that movie, you guys... Damn it. It's sooooooo good. The way the script doesn't slow down for you or hold your hand while explaining it. Every directorial choice. Some of the gimmicks don't quite fly but he was swinging for the fences and overall it just soars. So considered, sculpted, and beautifully executed, on like no money. Gotta be one of my favorites. Just awesome.

Anyway, if he can do that for a project he believes in, I can spend a year on an episode I believe in.

Thanks for reading.


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NexTV's MUSIC BLOG w/ DJ SHARK: the First Rock 'n' Roll Song

Jul 9, 2014 11:49AM


NexTV's music blog, written by DJ Shark, takes us on a ride through the history of an industry that is inextricably linked to Film and TV.  Listen to Shark's extraordinary show on 

What was the first Rock 'n' Roll song?

The history of Rock 'n' Roll music is full of brilliant mistakes; the goofs, the after thoughts, "Hell, we're just messin' around." and the unintended consequences of catching lightning in a bottle... by instinct and by accident.

What was the first? 

There is a lot of debate about what is the first true Rock 'n' Roll recording. Is it Big Joe Turner's, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in 1954 or Bill Haley and His Comets' version of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" later that same year (with a different arrangement and vibe). Some go back even further... Big "Mama" Thornton's original version of "Hound Dog" in 1953, or Fats Dominoe's "The Fat Man" in 1949, there's also the great Wynonie Harris', "Good Rockin' Tonight" in 1948 or Freddie Slack's "House of Blue Lights" in 1946. Or the often-sited, "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (actually Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm) in 1951. 

But, of course there's also what went down at Memphis Recording Service / SUN Studios on July 5th, 1954. The day when Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black recorded Arthur Crudup's, "That's All Right, Mama". 

— Elvis, Bill, Scotty and Sam at Memphis Recording —

That's when it ALL came together. 

And here's why; for me the exciting thing about the birth of Rock 'n' Roll is the mixture of genres and cultures, with opposites / polarities meeting, blending, mixing and smashing together in such a way that if one was to dissect it and try and look at each unique part... there would be no cracks that anyone could see, there are no seams, you cannot see the joins. The blend is flawless. 

What went into it and what came out?
It is the Black and the White blending in harmony. 

When I say, Black Culture, we all have some idea of what that is... musically speaking, Gospel, the Blues, R&B, Soul, and on through the decades to Hip-Hop and Rap, etc. etc. Whatever you thought, would probably be right, It's a deep, deep culture. 

If I say White Culture, (a term that has more of a socio-political impression than a musical one) one might be talking about, sacred hymns, or Irish folk, or Hillbilly music, Tin Pan Alley, or Country music and or Western (which actually used to refer to ballads from Western films). There is a rich deep culture on both sides of the tracks. 

Don't get me wrong, Ike Turner's "Rocket 88" is a record that Rocks! No doubt about it, and is one of the most important revolutionary moments in recorded history, period. 

Unfortunately, Ike Turner's legacy has now been boiled down to basically his cocaine-fueled beatings of Tina in the 1970's. But he was also a brilliant bandleader in the 1950's, 60's and well into the 70's, influencing a whole generation of British rockers (The Beatles, The Stones, etc. etc. etc.) The former fact is always mentioned, while the latter is rarely mentioned, if at all. 

"Rocket 88" is great, but it isn't all encompassing, it doesn't involve ALL music genres. "Rocket 88" musically is very much rooted in the black Rhythm & Blues of the 1940's and 50's. Its revolution is in the distorted rhythm guitar being well up in the mix. (distorted because legend has it, the amp fell off the car on route to the studio, causing the sound to be all dirty).

— "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats —

But for me Rock 'n' Roll music is the blend of the Black & the White. To put it bluntly, Ike ain't got no white. And he doesn't need it, that's not who he is. And not what his sound is about. 

Ike himself in an interview with Holger Petersen published in his book TALKING MUSIC: Blues Radio and Roots Music said...

“… they say "Rocket 88" was the first Rock 'n' Roll song, but the truth of the matter is, I don't think that "Rocket 88" is Rock 'n' Roll. I think that "Rocket 88" is R&B, but I think "Rocket 88" is the cause of rock and roll existing...” 

The other early contenders I mentioned above are based very much in musical styles that contributed to Rock 'n' Roll, from Boogie Woogie to the jumped up post Big Band Blues and R&B of the 1940's. Elvis' version of "That's All Right, Mama" effortlessly seems to be everything at once, incorporating and blending at least six distinct musical genres or sub-genres. 

Earlier at Elvis' July 5th SUN Session he is recording some Dean Martin ballads and Country songs. It's not exactly going that well. Nice kid, good voice, but nothing special at all. During a break, Elvis' picks up his guitar and is goofin' around playing a Hillbilly version of a Blues song by Arthur Crudup. The rest of the guys join in. 
(For some context, here's the original from 1946)...

— "That's All Right, Mama"  by Arthur Crudup (original version) —

— "That's All Right, Mama"  by Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill —

Sam Phillps is in the other room and hears this, comes back in the studio and says, 

"What's that? What are you doing?!?" 

Elvis' replies, "Oh we're just messin' around." 

Sam says quickly, "Well, go back and do it again and I'll roll tape." 


"What Was That?"

A Blues wail with a Country holler 
The Sacred church with the Gospel spiritual 
Jumpin' Jive with a Hillbilly hiccup 
Boogie Woogie with a Western Swing 

Yes, "Just messin' around" 

With the Black and with the White. 

And Elvis isn't alone in all this. "Just messin' around" with him is Scotty Moore whose revolutionary guitar work can best be described as Jazz licks with a Country Twang. 
And the rhythm? 
Well those aren't drums that you hear (there was no drummer on the session). It is the pure rhythm engine of Bill Black, slappin' the double bass with some SUN studio slap-back delay on top. Playin' a jumped up Blues beat as if in a Hillbilly hoedown. 

Upon listening to the playback of the song, bassist Bill Black said, "If anyone hears this, we'll be run out of town!" Only someone who lived in the South during the fifties fully knows what he meant by that. But there was no denying, this was something new, this was different! 

This moment is no doubt the birth of Rockabilly. But with any great Big Bang it will shoot off into numerous directions. Even taking with it the tributaries of the past which now will be heard in a different light with different ears. The past led to this moment in time, and now the future will expand from this moment in time. Forward and back. 

The next evening, the trio got together again to record a B-Side, after going over some songs, and again during a break, Bill Black, jokingly started playing Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" singing in a high pitched voice impersonating Monroe. Elvis joins in singing in his own voice and lightning struck again. But this is from the opposite direction... where "That's All Right, Mama" was a Hillbilly version of a Blues song, this was a Jumped up R&B version of a Bluegrass song. 
"We're just messin' around."
(For some context, here's the original from 1947)...

— "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe (original version) —

— "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill — 

The first session wasn't a fluke, this again was something new! The boys recorded two versions, one slow and one fast. After listening to the playback of the fast one, Sam Phillips, exclaimed, "Fine, man! Hell, that's different. That's a Pop song now!" 
Elvis didn't steal Black music, he loved it. Many radio stations actually thought that he was black when he released his first records. But Elvis wasn't strictly an R&B artist. The record company pushed his singles to Country Radio. He was being accepted and rejected by both sides. The blending and mix of all this "messin' around" is because of who Elvis was, a poor Southern white boy from the wrong side of the tracks. With a love of black Rhythm & Blues (BB King to Big "Mama" Thornton) and of white Hillbilly Country (Jimmy Rogers to Hank Snow) and an enthusiasm to share what he had found. 

Elvis' debut single, "That's All Right" by Elvis Presley, Scotty and Bill, came out on SUN records (on 78 and 45) on July 19th just two weeks after it was recorded. And by September, the B-Side, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" became the #1 radio hit in Memphis. Unfortunately due to a lack of National distribution it was just a regional hit but it was the beginning of a new era.

— Sam Phillips at Memphis Recording / SUN Studios —

Back on July 5th 1954 everything changed, I'm just glad Sam Phillips was there to get it all down on tape. 
But after all is said and done, 
It's only Rock 'n' Roll. 


All Time is Now with DJ Shark
Heard 'round the World
For your listening pleasure, 
and to share with your friends,
additional episodes can be found at…

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Jul 4, 2014 3:03AM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


The video update below exhibits my absolute thrill over the responses we got to episode 8 of PoPS over upload week and we talk to a very active member of our YouTube community about the nature of internet communication. Side note: The dude lives in Australia, so as we talked it was like 10pm my time, 1pm the next day his time. And summer for me, winter for him. Isn't that weird to think about?

The comments and views are still coming in for episode 8, and it's all still such nice feedback and enthusiasm pointed in our direction. I've only just finished my initial episode-wrap up work. The episode parts on YouTube are all closed captioned, I scanned in my personal copy of the episode 8 script with all my shot notes in the margins for the donation perks where people get a digital copy of it and the few who get a bound copy of it, got the full episode to Ryan to run unbroken on our website, I made and mailed the master discs for the episode 8 DVD and the 1-8 DVD perks to the Harris boys—the wonderful father/son team who duplicate our discs as a contribution to the show, and I made a new Intro to PoPS video for our YouTube Channel. It's 85 seconds long, has less story-spoilers, more show-flavor, and I think it's a better indication of the tone of the show with enough VFX to show what we can do on that front:

Plus, the thumbnail is just B.A.-all-the-way. The B.A. Stands for badass. One of my favorite shots from the series so far. Not just because I'm the one in focus.

I might do a video update about my captioning process in the next few weeks, because I finally got a system together that I think works pretty well.

Anyhow, now that I've done my part on the initial donation fulfillment and got the captioning put to bed, I have a couple days where I can actually take a break if I want to. Like tonight. I may have a quick Skype talk to do for the update this week, but other than that I might actually lounge around and watch a movie. On a weeknight! Before the show I spent A LOT more time watching movies. I wonder what I'll watch? It's so exciting. Being out from under another episode—especially one that's been so warmly received—makes me feel a little adrift. Just untethered for a moment. Eliza told me last night that she thinks I don't really know what to do with myself right now. It's true. I feel like I should be doing something more. Eh. I'll start writing episode 9 in a few days. Until then, Happy 4th of July, Americans!

Thanks for reading.


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