Thursday, February 3, 2011

No REST... You're either moving FORWARD or sliding BACK

As an actor, is it's easy to fall into the trap that you have to WAIT for a job. I mean, unless you're  loaded, even a successful director, actor or producer has to have someone FUND their project. So actors aren't the only ones waiting to CREATE but it's easy to fall into apathy when the traditional method of booking work is less than fulfilling. As I've spoken about before (ad nauseam), Jesse Warren and I created The Bannen Way out of that frustration. We of course wanted it to be the biggest success as possible but tried to stay focused, knowing it was just the first of many projects for us and worst come to worst, we'd at least have a great calling card.. We are very pleased with the final product and the success of the show as well as all the doors that have opened because of it.

Last year was filled with great meetings with some of the top people in the industry. Pitching Bannen as a TV series amongst several other projects that we were developing separately. I had of course huge (and probably unrealistic) EXPECTATIONS for what Bannen would do for my acting career. I mean, hell, I was the LEAD in a feature film/web series opposite two Academy Award Nominees and an Emmy Award Winning actress... I won a Streamy Award for Best Actor and Best Drama... it was produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Television... it came out on DVD at Blockbuster and freakin' Target. But I've still struggled with TV and Film opportunities.

I've been approached by several web series creators over the last year, both as an actor and producer. There have been a lot of great projects but for one reason or other it wasn't the perfect fit for me or something that got me fired up. LoveMakers was one of those projects. Creator, Yuri Baranovsky (Break A Leg) had written a blog post about the success of The Bannen Way and his frustration with the fact that he wanted to have the 'break out series.' Thanks to Google alerts I found the post and we began a dialogue about the struggles and successes of being writer/producer/actors in the new media space. Shortly after he sent me an email about possibly shooting a teaser for a new show he had created and asked if I was interested. I read the pilot script and was floored. It was so good, very Aaron Sorkin and very smart. I was hooked. We shot for a few days up in San Francisco and a few pick up shoots here in LA. We really hit it off and now we are producing LoveMakers together with his Happy Little Guillotine Films.

I had the honor of hosting the NATPE Digital Luminary Awards in Miami last week and while I was there one of the things that really stood out for me was the new buzz word 'Branded Entertainment.' LoveMakers is a perfect fit for a Brand as well as a any Studio or Network. We've been getting great reactions and attention from the trailer and pitch site and feel like we've done everything we can do to SHOW people what the series will be like.

I firmly believe that shooting something and putting together a pitch site or deck may not get you a SALE but at least puts you in the best position for a buyer to actually write a check. I'm currently in post on a very funny web series pilot I'm producing called Bri Squared, created by my uber-talented girlfriend Brianne Davis and friend Briana Lane (both Bannen cast members), they wrote a song, shot a music video, cutting a trailer and did a publicity photo shoot. So we're doing everything that we can do on our end and having a blast doing it. They're not waiting around either, they can't, I can't.

All I can do is keep creating... what other choice do I have? Complaining is so... 2006.


  1. Great post Mark, and congrats on getting LoveMakers going. It's a great premise, looking forward to seeing and hearing more.

  2. I couldn't have said it better myself... very good post Mr. Gantt.

  3. What I took most from this post is that you can't wait around, hoping things will happen. You have to make them happen. You need to do everything you can possibly do for your project so that it looks good when you finally get it in front of eyes.

    Great post, Mark.

  4. I crown Mark Gantt, King of New Media! (until my web series, "iCommit is unleashed) Thanks for keeping it 100% real!

  5. Wow. Glad you're digging it. To steal the last line from my Suite 7 episode that Yuri wrote "We're all in it together after all."

  6. I was floored when I first watched the teaser trailer for LoveMakers - it had all the right ingredients to be a success. I look forward to hearing now things progress with it. Good luck.

  7. Fantastic post, Mark. Keep creating and pushing! You're a folk hero and we're pulling for you. :)