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Mar 26, 2015 2:42PM

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 is about the competitions I’ve participated in over the last year and about how nice it is to have a weekend where you can stay in and knock out some serious work on your video project.



I don’t know about you guys, but I got into all of this because of how much I loved watching movies. Well, I am facing the same conundrum that everyone who starts making content runs up against: Doing can put a big dent in watching. Of course, watching can also put a pretty big dent in doing. Obviously.


Unfortunately, I’ve recently discovered the glory of the Chicago film screening scene. I’ve been traveling downtown far more often these days, and two theaters are mainly responsible.


The Logan Theater in the Logan’s Square neighborhood of Chicago has a selection of recent movies, but then they have a monthly themed revival screening series. This is where I saw Chinatown and Fire Walk With Me on the big screen. This is where, during the month of October, I saw Poltergeist and Trick ‘r Treat on the big screen for the first time. October is horror movies, of course, February is romance movies, but then they also come up with their own insane themes. The month of March has been Anderson vs. Anderson vs. Anderson: screening works by Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and Paul W.S. Anderson. I’ve spent the last couple of Thursday nights seeing Resident Evil and Event Horizon. Tonight, I get to once again revel in the magnificent and hypnotically depressing Magnolia. It’s awesome.  And Thursday screenings are $5. Unbelievable.


The Music Box Theater is a glorious old movie house. Huge, old school, vaulted ceiling auditorium of a movie house with as tiny dollhouse-feeling second screen for the smaller titles. They do midnight screenings of classics using old beat-up 35 millimeter prints and are the main destination for the limited release flicks that come through Chicago. This is where I saw an awesomely gritty print of Aliens and heard Ripley’s voice echoing off of antique movie palace walls that have been around long before theater walls were heavily padded for sound dampening for optimal listening. It’s where I finally saw the theatrical cut of Donnie Darko at a midnight screening and heard a crowd of people cheer after the line, “Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.”


So going to these screenings obviously cuts back on the time that I spend at the computer building the show or my shorts or any creative video output. And sitting at my computer hammering away at the next link in my videography is time that I’m not consuming the things that keep me excited. I think I’ve found a pretty good balance, though. Just enough theater visits to keep me excited and motivated, and enough desk time to keep me working on output.


I just wanted to tell you all about two of my favorite spots, I guess. Thanks for reading.



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Mar 19, 2015 2:26PM

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 below concerns my recent re-edit of a video we made last autumn. Since I was sending it out to fests, thought I’d give it the once over. I changed a couple things and give my reasons for doing so.



The modern filmmaker isn’t really a filmmaker if their content goes online. They’re a content creator. I’ve spoken before about the carnival barking nature of being an online content creator, but here we go again, because I’m currently campaigning.


Content creators need three main things from people:

1.  Their attention.

2.  Their money.

3.  Their votes.


I’m lucky enough to have gotten a good group of people who are interested in the stuff we’re doing, so there’s 1. Every time we fundraise for an episode, I’m so amazed and grateful that there are people who put their money into PoPS, so there’s 2.


And then there’s 3. A lot of online competitions have a voting element to them. The theory must be that if someone can generate enough votes, their content must be at least a certain quality. Theoretically, the better content and more ambitious creators will automatically rise to the top. It’s a solid idea and I’ve seen it work really well. I’ve also seen voting systems get thoroughly hacked. Once I was in a competition against a dude who had the good will backing of a 4chan board. They wrangled that guy’s numbers like nobody’s business with some kind of hacked cyber voting system. There’s no beating 4chan, you guys. But we put up a pretty good fight and raised an impressive number of legitimate votes. Plus, the guy they were backing is a really good YouTuber. I’m still subscribed to him.


This week I’m campaigning for votes to get into the top ten of another competition. It’s for the 30-second horror short we did that won the Studio360 #scaryshorts competition, …Jack. In order to vote, people have to click the thumbs up icon that comes with the official entry video. I wish they could use the one that’s been up for a year; I’ve got a lot of good views and thumbs ups on that one. But here’s the link to the video to thumbs up:



And since I feel like I’m always asking people to vote for me in competitions, I thought I’d at least make a fun video for the campaign this time:



Eliza and I shot that ourselves a couple nights ago and it took me two evenings of editing to get the crank effect rotoscoped out and everything color corrected. I had so much fun making that thing.


I hope you’ll vote for me if you have a minute to do so, I love horror competitions and this time I could even win a little money if I end up in the top three.


Thanks for reading.



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Quarter-Finalists of the NexTV Writing & Pitch Competition (2014-2015)

Mar 7, 2015 1:35PM

CONGRATULATIONS to the QUARTER-FINALISTS for the 2014-2015 NexTV Writing & Pitch Competition.

Note: This represents the top 30% of our field of submitters

Nino       Abate
Michael       Acosta
Talya       Adams
Lior       Aiden Elharar
Byron       Anderson
Brian       Anderson
Margherita Arco
Michael       Baley
George       Barnett
James       Bauer
Andrew     Beguin
David       Beshears
Mark       Bethea
Jason       Bing
Jean       Blasiar
Laura       Bloechl
Rose       Bochner
Noella       Borie
Russ       Brandon
Michelle   Brezinski
Tracy       Britton
Edwin       Brochin
Alex       Brodsky
Joneia       Brown
DarmeLL       Brown
Derek       Brown
Nicolas       Caicoya
Elodie       Cammarata
Angelin    Carkic
Derek       Carlton
Clint       Carmichael
Tom       Cavanaugh
Salvator   Cesarano
Matt       Clifford
Travon       Clinton
Katie       Cocquyt
Luis        Colon
Terry       Connell
Dwayne       Conyers
Sidney       Cooper
David       Cooper
Megan       Cordero
Skylar       Craig
Stuart       Creque
Thomas       Crowel
Gavin       Cutter
Jennifer   D'Angelo Kircher
Cynthia       Dallas
Cecil        Davis
Allison       Dean
Darrell       Dennis
James       Di Giacomo
Darren       Dillman
Freya       Doney
Denice       Duff
Tara       Easley
Vickery       Eckhoff
Lauren       Elaine
Imeh       Esen
David       Eskridge
Anne       Eston
John       Everett
Sakina       Fakhri
David        Fein
Kevin       Fintland
Brooke       Forbes
Kevin       Garcia
Eliza        Gardner
Christopher Glennon
Veronica   Gonzales
Rob       Gorden
Gene       Gordon
Shelli Jean Grant
Linda       Grasso
Shaine       Greenwood
Kevin        Gregory
Jeff       Haber
J.M.       Hall
Joanna       Hall
Kevin       Hanna
Marcus       Harmon
Ryan       Hawkins
Sarah       Hesch
David       Hill
Bill       Hill
Hollie       Himmelman
Dan       Holden
Heather       Holmberg
Olga       Holtz
Bradd       Hopkins
Jonathan   Houston
Ruth Ann   Howard
Gary       Hubb
Tim       Hurley
Jon-Barrett Ingels
Wyatt       Irmen
Heather       Jacks
Sundae       Jahant-Osborn
Yatouze       Jalloh
Edgardo       Jimenez
Axel       Johansson
Tierra       Johnson
Simon       Johnston
Sam       Juergens
Theresa       Julian
Terry       Jun
Jordan       Kalms
Marvin       Kaplan
Piotr       Kaszuba
Chandler   Kauffman
Joseph       Kausch
Rachel       Kempf
Keisha       King
Paul       Kleiman
Carolyn       Kras
Rathan       Krueger
scott       Kushman
Steve       LaMontagne
Alex       Lane
Elizabeth  Langenberg
Lynda       Lemberg
Bill       Levinson
David       Levy
Stephanie  Little
Sara       Lohman
Marc       Lott
Will       Lowell
Lynne       Lueders
Deanna       Markoff
Howard Simon Marks
Chris Courtney Martin
Tracey       Maye
Coleman       McClary
Tristan       McIntosh
Lynne       McMahon
Ronald       McQueen
Brad       Miller
Mike       Mitchell Jr
W. Reed       Moran
Timmy       Morgan
Michael       Mowder, Jr.
Rosie       Nakamura
Jason       Neely
Scott       Newell
Tom       Nguyen
Kelsey       Nicolle Scott
Katia       Nizic
Rachel       Noll
Garrett       Oakley
Mitch       Olson
Travis       Opgenorth
John       OToole
Elizabeth  Padilla
Adam       Palcher
Renee       Palleggi
Keith       Paradise
Luisa       Parnes
Emily       Paul
Andrew        Pemberton-Fowler
Gordon       Phipps
Lamont       Pierré
Adnerson   Pierre-Gilles
Noah       Pohl
Robert       Potter
Viveka       Praba
Rohan       Price
Ross       Raffin
Shiva       Ramanathan
Jon       Ramsey
Joe       Ranoia
Lukas       Raphael
Charles       Reeves
Lee       Reinhold
Manny       Rey
Malcolm       Rhame
Sal        Richards
camille       Righi-Policieux
Liz       Rivera
M.G.       Robinson
Natalie       Rodriguez
Chris       Rodriguez
Jerell       Rosales
Orgena       Rose
Joanne       Rose
George       Rubino
Leigh       Rudd
Daniel       Ruebesam
Hal       Russek
Justin       Schoenfelder
Tim-Doug   Scowden-Warren
Jim       Sea
Kevin       Seefried
Tim       Sexton
Allen       Shadow
Steve       Sharon
Jonathan   Siebel
Luke       Silver
Colin       Simpson
R. Ian       Simpson
David       Skeele
Veronica   Slattery
Bob       Slusarczyk
Adam       Slutsky
Corey       Snowden
Theodore   Soderberg
Matthew       Songer
Joseph       Spadaro
Richard       Spencer
Samuel       Spitale
Adam       Stangeby
E. Andre   Stanley
Jennifer   Stukin
Christian  Thomas
Alan       Thornburg
Ian       Todary
Chris       Tolley
Kimberly   Tompkins
Vartanoush Torossian
Jennifer   Toto
William       Tovey
Kelvin       Tran
Konstantinos Tsokalis
Kaleb       Tuttle
Mati­as       Valenzuela
Arthur       Vincie
Jaye       Viner
Edward       Viverette
Annaliese Ciel    Walker
David       Warfield
Greg       Wayne
Gary       White
Christopher Whitfield, Jr.
Martha       Williams
Johnny       Winningham
Julien       Wojtasinski
Keaton       Wooden
Wenona       Wynn
Luke       Yankee
Mitch       Yapko
Frank       Zanca
Bernard       Zeiger

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Building a Successful Web Series: YouTube Creators Are Too Public

Mar 6, 2015 3:00PM

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 has an extended rant about how YouTube creators like myself can become distracted by the numbers of YouTube and forget about what’s important. Eye-catchingly titled “Why YouTube is Discouraging” it’s been one of my more-viewed video updates in awhile.



This is one of problems of the social media age. Yes, it’s provided more creators with platforms for their stories, but it’s also given creators a platform for whining about creating.


Creating has always been a difficult enterprise. Filmmaking is a collaborative activity; it takes a lot of people and coordination. People are going to butt heads and compromise is constant and inevitable. Creators used to grouse about that privately, face-to-face, with peers, friends, and loved ones. The audience didn’t know anything about all the struggles. They just saw the end product. It looked so together and effortless. They didn’t think about what it could have been, what didn’t work out the way the creators wanted, none of that. Now, we know about every little conflict all of the time. Deals falling through, behind-the-scenes disagreements, whether the final edit is director-approved or not. The once-invincible creative mind now vents their insecurities out loud in public.


Maybe that’s good. Maybe we needed to humanize the people who crafted the national conversation. Maybe we needed to see that they’re all just people like us. But a lot of the intrigue and mystery has disappeared. We don’t get the chance to be impressed or filled with wonder very often anymore. We don’t have to wonder How did they do that? because we can click the annotation at the end of the video and be taken right to the behind-the-scenes.


I’ve brought up Donald Glover/Childish Gambino a couple times on this blog, because he’s a guy who’s maneuvered both the traditional and new media channels of creating and he always seems to be wrapped up in the subjects I’m thinking about. He did a very public airing of insecurities on Twitter awhile back. He wrote out a list of fears and concerns on hotel stationary, photographed them and uploaded them to Twitter. It caught a lot of attention. Some people wondered if it was a weird cry for help or social media suicide note. All it was, was someone feeling vulnerable. And they had an immediate portal available to them to broadcast their moment of weakness directly to the people who are most interested in what they’re producing. The thoughts expressed were real and human, but they seemed to exist in opposition to the public persona that Glover was in the midst of cultivating. (Which, frankly, was fine by me, because that persona was of a disinterested, apathetic, dead-eyed millennial and the act was a little standard and boring.) But since then, he’s gotten off Twitter for the most part and his very interesting, very strange music videos have no behind-the-scenes videos and no explanations. It makes them a billion times more intriguing and re-watchable, looking for clues to what the hell is going on exactly. There also seems to be some kind of other-worldly storyline playing out through them and it’s really fascinating. Especially because he doesn’t talk about the intention of the storyline or the events in the videos publicly. It’s all there for the audience to speculate on. I’m totally in.


Once again, a strong language warning on these two videos: But something very interesting happens in the middle and end of this video:



and the breakdown in the middle of this video blows my mind. This whole video is weird though, and I feel like it’s an elaboration on the video that came before:



Edgar Wright hasn’t Tweeted since January 1st of 2015. And that Tweet was simply: So my New Years resolution for 2015 is to spend less time on here. See you in a little while. Love you all.




I think we’re all getting a little tired of the distraction and the transparency.


Thanks for reading.



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Feb 19, 2015 8:14PM

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 contains my musings on the gender stereotyping perpetrated by the performers of audio books. And I didn’t mention it in the update, but my favorite audio book readers are probably Edward Hermann reading Scott Turow books or Jim Dale reading the Harry Potters. Hermione’s a little too whiney, but other than that, he does a smashing job.



As a young upstart, you think—I’ll just develop my skills as a storyteller. Writing and directing. If I write and direct really well, someone will pay me to do it and take care of the hard stuff like scheduling.


Then you get a little older. Well, I can’t show that I can write and direct unless I have something I’ve written and directed to show people. I’ll just make something.


After trying that a couple times by just throwing things together with a couple days notice and seeing who’s available this weekend—This all feels so slap-dash. I better figure out how to actually schedule this thing. I hate scheduling… But nobody’s volunteered to do it. Okay, let’s try this.


Now we live in the age of crowdfunding and my hobby has sprouted a lot of paperwork to boot. When I was a kid, I never thought I’d be saying—Man, I love making movies with my friends! Except during tax season.


We forgot to send out 1099s to the people we paid over the certain amount, and I guess we could face financial penalties or something? I’m not really sure, but it’ll probably all work out. It’s just crazy to me how my after-work hobby has given way to so many other responsibilities. When going to work is more relaxing than going home, something has taken a turn.


Thanks for reading.



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Writing Competition