Keep Your Artist Alive: Actor Phoebe Allegra

Phoebe as "Vee" in The Videoblogs.
Phoebe as “Vee” in The Videoblogs.

I have had the pleasure of working closely with Phoebe Allegra. If you haven’t already seen her in The Videoblogs, you’re in for a treat with this episode of Coffee With Creatives.

Among other things, this conversation touches upon:

  • The daily work of building a character
  • The importance of honesty on an off screen
  • Acting as a way to escape, and/or experience new and different aspects of life
  • Choosing NYC over LA
  • Parsing industry feedback
  • Separating your self-worth from career highs (or lows)
  • Approaching racial and gender identity from a place of honor

We definitely dig way in on all those subjects in our talk. Phoebe works hard and has a great attitude. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Enjoy. You can find Phoebe on Twitter here.

As reminders, you can also subscribe to Coffee with Creatives on iTunes and/or support the podcast on Patreon.

No Waiting: Filmmaker Christina Raia

Christina Raia9441

After a bit of a break, Coffee with Creatives is back and ready to inspire you in 2016. The first episode of the new year is with Filmmaker Christina Raia, who I first met on Twitter and then in person when Multiverse screened at Indieworks in NYC.

Christina is a prolific filmmaker with an intense work ethic. In addition to discussing the path that led to her first feature film Summit, we also discuss:

  • The many ways in which an artist can be boxed-in, in career terms, and how to help make sure that doesn’t happen
  • How we as artists change during, after, and across projects
  • Why she doesn’t like waiting before moving on to a new film or series
  • The experience of wondering if her $20,000 feature (Summit) would collapse entirely, during every day of its two-week production period
  • Learning to be vulnerable, and how that can help you (and any team members working with you) to, for instance, stick things out in sub-zero temperatures
  • In regards to her web series, Kelsey, how to achieve distribution success by reaching out to your base, or core audience

Great talk, hard-working, generous filmmaker. Summit is available now. You can find out more about Christina and her work on her site. Happy Creating! More great guests coming soon! If you enjoy our talk, please share it on Twitter or on Facebook.

As reminders, you can also subscribe to Coffee with Creatives on iTunes and support the podcast on Patreon.

 

Hiring: Assistant PMD, The Videoblogs

After the lab, we will set our sights on completing the film and gearing up for next steps.

Team #VideoblogsFilm is on the lookout for an Assistant Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD) to join marketing and distribution efforts for our independent film about mental health in today’s busy, tech-enabled environment.

Do you…

  • Feel strongly about advocating for a greater dialogue on mental health in America?
  • Have experience and a great interest in independent film, or a comparable art form?
  • Have room in your schedule to commit to performing specific administrative and research tasks, on a weekly basis, beginning ASAP and continuing through May 2016 (possibly beyond)?
  • Want to gain experience in the marketing and distribution of a truly independent film?
  • Want to establish a working relationship with hard-working producers who release a film at least once per year?
  • Live in the NYC area?

If so, please review the job responsibilities below. Apply via the instructions at the bottom of this post if interested in the position.

Responsibilities

  • Maintain and update project calendar, keep core team on track with deadlines
  • Set meetings, take notes, work with core team to update business plan(s) as appropriate
  • Under direction of Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD), research and catalog list of potential partner organizations, on national and local (US city) level
  • Under direction of Creative Producer, assist in research and outreach tasks related to The Videoblogs Dialogue
  • Help coordinate screenings in several cities
  • Assist PMD with digital release strategy implementation
  • Other administrative tasks

Compensation and Timeline

  • $250/wk, from start to May 2016
  • Flexible hours, mostly remote work
  • Potential for continued employment with this project
  • With good performance, strong consideration for larger role in next project produced by same core team

This position is project-based. The weekly amount of hours it will take to perform will depend largely on how long it takes to effectively and efficiently meet deadlines. The Assistant PMD will not be expected to work full-time, but will need to be able to perform tasks on a weekly basis and respond to emails and calls in a timely manner.

Application Instructions

  • Please send a brief cover letter to mdibiasio [at] outlook [dot] com, summarizing relevant experience, your interest in the position, and what your goals would be in performing the role of Assistant PMD.
  • Attach a resume (in PDF form only).
  • Also, at the end of your cover letter, please identify the last great book you read, and include a one-sentence reason why you loved it. Alternatively, you may also tell us about the last great meal you ate (and why you loved it).

Applications that do not follow these instructions will be sugar-shamed and then deleted. We look forward to reviewing your applications!

 

 

Multiverse Returns to Katra Film Series!

I'd like to tell you more about the film, but I'm drawing a blank.
I’d like to tell you more about the film, but I’m drawing a blank.

Rebecca and I are pleased to announce that Multiverse has been passed through to the second round of the 2015 Katra Film Series in NYC.

We’ll be screening the film again, at Katra, on the evening of 7/18. Head on over to Katra’s Facebook page for more info on the films playing and how to attend.

I plan to be there, and Rebecca will be in attendance as well. If you haven’t yet watched our creepy little film on a big screen, with a room full of other people — I recommend swinging by and trying the experience out. It’s uncomfortable! In a revealing way. I think.

Other great reasons for attending include:

  • To support your favorite neighborhood indie filmmakers (we’re now eligible to move on to the final round in January)
  • To watch other great shorts (films, not tiny pants)
  • We can high-five in person, or clink beer bottles, or share some hummus. They have hummus.

Hope to see you there! Let us know here, or on Facebook or Twitter, if you’re coming!

Multiverse at 2015 Katra Film Series

Edit: I forgot to mention that there’s a discount code for tickets. KATRA10.

"Do you know what you want?"
“Do you know what you want?”

Hey, Wonderful People.

Just a quick announcement that Multiverse will be screening again in its native NYC, this time at the Katra Film Series in Manhattan.

Details below! If you live in the city, please come by, say hello to me and Rebecca De Ornelas, and watch a bunch of other curated shorts. There will be drinks.

And there will be a vote at the end of the night. Per Katra’s site:

Each selected work will compete for the audience prize voted by the folks in attendance and the winning film will advance to the 2nd round which takes place in July.

Launched in the Summer of 2012, Katra Film Series screens a selection of quality shorts by emerging and award-winning filmmakers in NYC and provides a great networking platform for industry professionals. In partnership with Everyone Matters and Rhino Films the 2015 Grand Prize Winner will be awarded a one-on-one meeting with acclaimed Producer Stephen Nemeth from the Academy-Award Nominated The Sessions and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

We’d love to see you there! In fact, I’ll bring a few copies of my book as an additional incentive. Say hello, get a free book. Who says I don’t take good care of you?

2015 Katra Film Series – Sat. Feb 7th, 6pm-1030pm

217 Bowery St. between Rivington & Prince St.
New York, NY 10002

  • 2 for 1 house drink specials from 6p-8p
  • $15 advance online ticket sales (includes screenings, Q&A, and afterparty)
  • $20 door price (includes screenings, Q&A, after party)
  • Full dinner menu available

Multiverse Featured on Film School Rejects, Screening in NYC Wednesday

poster_image_web

Check out this featured review of Multiverse on Film School Rejects, by Managing Editor Scott Beggs! My favorite part:

By the end, you can easily imagine Franz Kafka watching this, putting his arm fraternally around DiBiasio and then buying him a beer.

Read more at Film School Rejects: http://bit.ly/1nJb3Gd

I will take that beer.

Also, Multiverse will be screening again in New York City THIS WEDNESDAY at 7PM at People’s Lounge and Bar, as part of CongestedCat’s Indie Works Screening Series. Rebecca De Ornelas and I will both be in attendance, and I will be participating in a Q&A.

Register to attend on Facebook if you’re local to the city and haven’t seen the film yet (or want to see it again).

And, as a reminder, we have less than 5 days left to fund The Videoblogs. A generous supporter is currently matching contributions!

 

Beta Day, Columbia Day: Let’s Make A Special Film

Today on The Videoblogs, we’re asking members of a few special groups, near and dear to my heart, to contribute to the campaign if they can by pre-purchasing a copy of the film.

That can be done here, via our campaign on Seed and Spark.

Many of you in these groups may have originally gotten to know me as the goateed, whiskied young man pictured here:

We had fun.
We had fun. Still do, sometimes :-)

This man is The Last Permutation of DiBs, the name I used to be known by in years past, and still sometimes use to sign emails.

He is me and he is very proud to be both a member of the Alpha Alpha Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Columbia University — and an alum of the university, period.

My life changed the day I got that acceptance letter. It changed again one day when I walked past a table in Lerner Hall where some Betas from the National Office were recruiting a new class of pledges to restart the Alpha Alpha chapter at Columbia.

Those of you who DO know me as DiBs from those days at CU (though the nickname carries over from a line of us from Cranston) probably know me as two things: a writer/filmmaker and a Beta. Okay, perhaps also as the guy with the goatee and the whiskey.

ANYWAY, in deciding how else to spread the word about our film today, I thought it would be appropriate to also reach out to my fellow alums in general to ask if you’d consider contributing to the campaign today along with a few of my brothers.

Again, every dollar helps.

So — Betas, Friends of Betas, Columbia Friends in general…

…if you could contribute to the campaign today and help me make my first feature film, I’d love to count you among the first people to see the film when it’s done.

We believe the film (and our “Phase 2” project aimed at contributing to a greater dialogue on mental health, and advocating for the positive use of tech for personal expression) are worthy endeavors.

What we want to do in making The Videoblogs is to simply scratch up just enough money to get the film made — and then we want to get it out to you. That’s it. We appreciate any help today in assuring that process. No matter who you are.

But, today, we’re hoping a bunch of you are Betas and other Columbia friends and family :-)

 

Casting Announcement: Phoebe Allegra

Writing in with a quick informational update on The Videoblogs — this time to do with casting!

There are three main characters in the film, and today we’re excited to introduce you to the wonderful (and wonderfully talented) actress Phoebe Allegra, who will be playing Vee, a young college student struggling to survive her last years at home before striking out on her own in New York City.

headshot for phoebe
Phoebe will be playing Vee in The Videoblogs. She’s great. We’re excited.

Phoebe delivered a powerful couple of audition scenes during casting, particularly at her callback, when the room got quiet after her performance. Possibly some tears were shed.

So, obviously, Rebecca and I are really looking forward to working with Phoebe. More info about her career to this point appears below.

Please join us in welcoming Phoebe to the team! You can also follow her on Twitter here.

— 

BIO

Phoebe Allegra is a young actress currently based in New York City. Born and raised in the small town of Pell City, Alabama, she is your typical small town girl with a big city dreams and heart. Singing before she could talk and dancing before she could walk, Phoebe was consumed with dreams of performing while being influenced every weekend with marathons of Turner Classic Movie Channel, movie musicals such as Doris Days’ By The Light of the Silvery Moon, Shirly Temple’s Curly Top, and Debbie Allen & Phylisha Rashaad’s, Polly.

After graduating from high school, Phoebe enrolled in the University of Alabama’s Theatre Department where she was finally free to study and explore her acting dreams both in school and in community theatre. While still a student at UA, she got her chance at her first leading theatrical role as Mamie Till, in William Bradford Huie’s: Voice of the Voiceless at the BAMA Theatre. After completing her studies and performing in shows such as Big River and City of Angels, Phoebe graduated from UA a semester early and hit the ground running, moving to Los Angeles just two weeks later in January of 2012. Eager to begin her career, she studied film and TV acting techniques at Krater Studios and Brian Reise Studios, and landed roles in indie short films such as “Beachwood Kids” and the webseries “My Roommate the..(Gleek). However, NYC quickly came knocking on the door, and last year she moved to NYC to explore and take on its opportunities. Recently, Phoebe was cast in the feature film The Videoblogs written by Michael DiBiasio, and cannot wait to begin working with such an awesome cast and crew.

The Videoblogs is currently crowdfunding on Seed and Spark.

It's on.
It’s on.

Announcing: The Videoblog Monologues + “Phase 2”

madison

I’m excited to share this with you so let’s jump straight into it.

As many of you know from our pitch video for The Videoblogs, we’re not only making the film in launching this project.

We’re also working to set up “Phase 2” of this overall initiative to engage in a greater dialogue on mental health, the use of communications technology for personal expression, and related topics. Just helping people work up the confidence to speak more openly about difficult issues (or issues American’s aren’t typically comfortable talking about) would mean the world to us, when all is said and done. That’s where “Phase 2” comes in.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Chou at Orbital NYC for helping us arrive at the idea of “Phase 2”. Over the span of a meeting and some follow-up emails, Gary encouraged Rebecca and I to think about how we could do something different that also fell in line with our intentions for the project. In short, he challenged us to take a wider look at what was possible on the practical and tactile side of sparking a greater dialogue, other than making the film and putting it out there. In the end, we decided the best thing to do was to combine an effort at outreach and collaboration with an offer to “pay it forward”.

Hence, “Phase 2”. Which works like this:

  • Shortly after we wrap production on The Videoblogs, we will design a simple user-generated YouTube video contest for young Americans in the age range of 18-24
  • Basic guidelines for submission will be focused on performing and producing an original, short, fiction or non-fiction videoblog that deals with a difficult subject, a mental health issue, etc. Ideally, at the same time, there would be a touch of hopefulness to the narrative of the short piece.
  • Once the entry period has ended, we will post selected semi-finalists to our YouTube channel. Then there will be a voting period, which will produce a list of finalists.
  • When we have our finalists, a jury made up of myself, Rebecca, high-level donors from our Seed&Spark campaign, and hopefully also a few guest judges — will then select three winners.
  • Rebecca and I will mentor the winners in the production of their own short film centered on issues of mental health and the use of technology for personal expression. We will also lend them the small equipment package we will be using to shoot The Videoblogs
  • Whenever possible, we will screen the resultant short ahead of The Videoblogs, perhaps also including it in future distribution. Either way, we’ll continue to support the filmmakers and their work.

But that’s not (exactly) what today’s post, and/or The Videoblog Monologues, is about.

In recognition of the fact that it may be initially daunting to open up on camera, and/or to build momentum and to provide examples while embracing the collaborative spirit of our entire endeavor — we decided to crowdsource some “Phase 2” samples by reaching out to our network for help.

And that worked spectacularly.

Some of you may have seen (or shared, or answered) the Call for Writers I posted last month. Well, we got a nice batch of submissions, and we selected four one-page monologue scripts that we agreed to produce and distribute online in exchange for the writer’s permission to use their work for the aforementioned purpose.

Starting TODAY, we will be releasing one Videoblog Monologue per week, for the next month. Each video will continue to live on our YouTube channel along with Multiverse, our Four Legged Videoblogs, and other content.

Here’s the first one, written by April Austin. The video stars NYC actor Mary Palermo, was directed by our own Rebecca De Ornelas and recorded by Videoblogs Associate Producer Alex Hollock.

We hope you enjoy it. Please Share/Comment/Like/Tweet if you do!

In our first Videoblog Monologue, recently widowed Madison stresses over a rapidly approaching online date.

It's on.
It’s on.

The Videoblogs is an indie feature film about a struggling young woman whose life takes a surprise turn when a troubled teen finds her private video journal. We are currently crowdfunding.